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Thorn Wilde

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Thorn Wilde last won the day on May 10 2020

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  1. V returns with a bottle of water and a cloth to find Johnny on his back, staring drowsily up at the ceiling. He passes him the bottle. ‘Here. Drink.’ Johnny takes the bottle, propping himself up on his elbow so he can drink. He drains half of it in one and hands it back to V. ‘Thanks.’ ‘No problem.’ V gently cleans the cum off Johnny’s stomach, noting the other’s frown though he doesn’t protest, then tosses the cloth on the floor and lies down next to him. They don’t touch or kiss. They just lie there naked in comfortable, companionable silence. Johnny’s the first to break it. ‘Maybe you should fuck Kerry.’ V laughs, turning his head to stare at him. ‘What?’ ‘I’m serious. Bet he could do with a good dickin’. And you said yourself you thought he was hot.’ ‘’Cause he is objectively hot. Have you seen his eyes?’ Johnny snorts. ‘Have I ever seen my best friend’s eyes? Yeah, choomba, I’ve seen his eyes.’ ‘Fucking gorgeous eyes. Not to mention his ass.’ ‘That too,’ Johnny agrees. ‘So what’s the problem?’ V shakes his head, pillowing it on his arms and joining Johnny in his ceiling-staring. ‘Other than the fact that he hates me? I’m thinkin’ Kerry Eurodyne gets plenty of cock. Don’t need me for that.’ ‘Yeah, but I think he could benefit from your cock. Or, y’know . . .’ He nods to where V discarded the harness on the floor. Frowning, V turns over on his side and props himself up on his elbow, studying Johnny’s face. It gives nothing away, but he doesn’t look like he’s kidding. ‘Where’s this comin’ from? Why you tryin’ to pimp me out, man?’ That rocks Johnny’s carefully constructed facade, and he meets V’s eye, looking surprised. ‘What? No, I—that’s not what I meant.’ ‘No?’ ‘No. I just . . .’ It’s strange to see Johnny flustered—a small, sadistic part of V is enjoying it. ‘I think you’d like each other. Think you’d be good for him.’ V smiles, in spite of himself. ‘So you want me to fix your friend for you?’ Johnny snorts. ‘That’s takin’ it a little far. Doubt Kerry’s particular brand of crazy can be fixed.’ He turns over on his side and covers V’s hand with his own. He makes it seem accidental but doesn’t remove it. ‘You just . . . fuck, this is weird . . . I guess you see people. You . . . get them. You get me. Kerry doesn’t, not really. He doesn’t understand—not anymore, anyway. I may be what he wants, but I’m not what he needs.’ V cocks his eyebrow. ‘You really care about ’im, don’t you?’ Johnny seems to hesitate for a moment before he finally shrugs. ‘Well, yeah. But never tell him I said that, it’ll just go to his head. For the record, I care about you too. Puts you in pretty exclusive company, y’know; there’s about five people on this entire planet I could say that about.’ V laughs, lying down on his back again, his hand slipping out from under Johnny’s. ‘Guess I’m honoured, then.’ ‘You should be.’ Johnny sighs. ‘I, uh . . . I didn’t mean to make you feel used.’ ‘Well, for a man who writes such beautiful lyrics, you’re shit at expressing yourself. But don’t worry. I never felt used.’ ‘Good.’ For a while, V debates himself over whether to say what he’s thinking. Johnny seems to sense his indecisiveness. ‘What?’ he says. V glances at him. ‘I think you may wanna stop insisting I’m not your output. I mean, this is casual and that’s great—I’m not lookin’ for romance here—but when two people have been sleepin’ together almost every night for going on a month, saying we’re “friends who mess around sometimes” is startin’ to feel a little dishonest.’ He thinks it’s probably a testament to how comfortable Johnny is with him now, how much he trusts V in spite of himself, that he doesn’t dismiss him entirely and go sleep in the other room. Instead, he frowns, wetting his bottom lip with his tongue. ‘Do we need to define it?’ he says finally. ‘I guess not,’ says V, ‘but people are askin’. And they’re gonna keep askin’, ’specially since you can’t keep your hands off me in public.’ He smirks. ‘Not my fault you’re so damn fuckable,’ says Johnny with a shrug. Then he sighs. ‘Fine. So you’re my output. Now what?’ V shrugs. ‘Now nothin’. Everything’s exactly the same, except you don’t have to get that panicked look in your eye every time someone asks if I’m your output.’ ‘What panicked look? I do not panic!’ V laughs. ‘Whatever you say, man.’ Then he rolls over and kisses Johnny on the lips. ‘I’m gonna go get some more water. You want anything?’ Johnny shakes his head. ‘Nah, I’m good.’ He yawns. ‘Think I just need sleep.’ ‘Okay.’ V brushes a strand of hair away from Johnny’s face and smiles. ‘Get some rest.’ # Johnny feels oddly rested when he wakes up the next day. Checking the time, he realises he’s been asleep for twelve hours, which might explain that. Next to him, the bed is empty, but he can smell coffee and hears the TV on in the next room. Johnny gets out of bed. His ass is a little sore, but he’s had worse—V was gentle with him, all told. The thought of what happened last night makes him blush. Of what he asked V to do to him. His cock, half hard from having just woken up, twitches with interest at the memory. He shakes his head to try and clear it. He’s got a powerful urge to piss, and he discovers there’s still a little dried cum on his belly, so he goes to the bathroom to take a leak and a shower. With hot water cascading down his tired body, Johnny takes his cock in his hand. He hasn’t really needed to jerk off in quite some time. Which isn’t to say he hasn’t been doing it, though not since they got to Night City. Still, it’s nice to take a moment to himself, much as he enjoys being with V. Sometimes, all you need is your own hand, even if that hand is made of metal. Johnny comes quickly, silently, ejaculating on the tiles. He washes it off with water from the shower, then finishes cleaning up and gets out, wrapping a soft terrycloth towel around his waist. He exits into the living room to find V sitting at the table with a cup of coffee and a sandwich. He must have been out to get breakfast. There’s another sandwich on a plate next to him. V looks up as Johnny enters. ‘Morning!’ He smiles. ‘How you feelin’?’ It’s an innocent enough question, and nothing in his expression or posture gives it away as anything else. Johnny shrugs. ‘All right,’ he says nonchalantly. He picks up a mug and fills it with coffee from the machine, then sits at the table. He sips his coffee, has a bite out of the sandwich. ‘You goin’ to the studio today?’ V asks. ‘Yeah. Got any plans?’ V shrugs. ‘Prolly just go explorin’ again. Not much else to do until Rogue calls.’ Johnny nods. ‘Wanna go out tonight? Thought we could hit a club. Somethin’ a little different from the other places we’ve been to. Up for it?’ ‘Sure.’ V smiles at him. ‘I’ll come pick you up when I’m done at Kerry’s.’ He glances at V. ‘Wear those skinny jeans I got you yesterday.’ V frowns. ‘What jeans?’ ‘Check the bag in the bedroom.’ Johnny stands up and goes out onto the balcony for a smoke, coffee cup in hand. Tonight . . . tonight will be a good night, he decides. # Kerry puts down his guitar and yawns. ‘Think that’s all I got in me for today,’ he says. ‘Gettin’ tired.’ They’ve had a productive session, working on yet another new tune. Kerry’s got some lyrics in mind for this one. He’s planning on writing them down once Johnny’s left. Co-writing lyrics works better when you’ve got a starting point, he’s found. ‘Sure.’ Johnny stands and puts the DeLuze back in its case. He gives Kerry a sidelong glance. ‘Hey, Ker.’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘You get out much these days?’ ‘Why?’ Johnny shrugs. ‘No reason. Just know you can be a shut-in if you don’t have anyone to get you off your ass.’ ‘I get out,’ says Kerry, trying hard not to be offended, because if he’s honest with himself, Johnny’s right. ‘Went clubbing just last week. Same night I called you, actually.’ ‘Wanna go out tonight?’ Johnny asks, closing the guitar case. ‘Thought we might hit up Dicky Twister.’ Kerry raises an eyebrow. ‘You wanna go to Dickie’s?’ ‘Why not?’ says Johnny with a shrug. ‘Had fun last we went, didn’t we? Fuck, ’member that dancer?’ He shakes his head. ‘Seem to recall you found some hunk to take you home too.’ He’s right. Kerry did have a good time when they went to Dickie’s last, but that was at least seven years ago. Back when Johnny was seeing Alt. They’d had a fight and he wanted to get himself a piece of ass just to spite her. Kerry recalls his own disappointment when that piece of ass wasn’t his—closest he and Johnny ever got to actually fucking, outside of hormone-fuelled handjobs in their teens, has been the odd threesome where they shared a partner. That disappointment isn’t necessarily an experience he’s keen on repeating, but going out might be good for him. Last week, he went out with the guys from his backing band to celebrate the end of tour. They sat in some high-end VIP lounge surrounded by groupies, and Kerry had been distracted thinking about Johnny and his Samurai reunion idea. Dicky Twister is a dive, which means it’s full of real people. Real men, not star-struck groupies. Kerry would be lying if he said the thought didn’t appeal to him. ‘Fine,’ he says at last. ‘Let’s go to Dickie’s.’ ‘Preem. See you there at nine?’ Kerry nods. ‘Yeah, okay.’ He watches Johnny leave, trying not to look too closely at his ass. Trying not to hope, because there’s always that little part of him that thinks maybe if he just gets Johnny drunk enough, they’ll end up in bed together. And he hates it, both because getting someone drunk so they’ll fuck you is a shitty thing to do and because it’s never gonna happen, no matter how skezzed Johnny gets. # ‘So, we’re going to a gay bar,’ V says. He sounds hesitant. ‘With Kerry.’ ‘Yup.’ Johnny grins, drumming on the steering wheel with his fingers. ‘Kerry know I’m comin’?’ V asks. Johnny just shrugs. It’s not like he told him, but Kerry knows he and V are kind of a package deal at the moment. If he gets the wrong idea, it’s one hundred percent not Johnny’s fault. They pull up outside Dicky Twister and get out of the Porsche. Going inside, they pay the entrance fee and enter the club proper. It’s busy tonight, with plenty of guys dancing, drinking, and getting busy with each other in the corners while scantily clad men gyrate up on the catwalk. Johnny looks around and sees Kerry by the bar. Taking V by the wrist, he drags him over. ‘Hey, Ker!’ he half shouts over the din. ‘Johnny.’ Kerry squints at V. ‘And who are you again?’ Johnny snorts. He’s talked about V enough that Kerry knows exactly who he is. But V just takes it in stride. ‘I’m V,’ he says, smiling genuinely. ‘How you doin’?’ He glances around the room and raises an eyebrow. ‘Quite the view from over here, huh?’ Kerry cracks half a smile at that, but seems to catch himself and forces his face back into a neutral expression. He’s being standoffish, but as Johnny turns to the bar to order drinks, he notes Kerry discreetly checking out V’s ass. He can’t blame him; V looks good tonight, dressed in those new skinny jeans and a grey t-shirt that’s loose at the collar and shows off his collar bones. Good. So far, everything’s going according to plan. He hears V address Kerry. ‘I know I already said this, but I really loved the show last week. I’ve heard your music before, but never live. You really killed it. People do so much shit with vocals in the studio, so you can never know how good someone actually is from a recording, but, man, I fucking love your voice!’ ‘Oh.’ Kerry pauses. ‘Um, thanks. That’s, uh . . . that’s real nice of you.’ V shrugs. ‘I only ever call it like I see it.’ ‘He does too. Even when he’s wrong,’ says Johnny, turning around with two shots of tequila. He hands one to V. ‘Cheers.’ V grins and downs it in one. ‘Whoo!’ He coughs, grimacing. ‘That’s strong. What was that?’ ‘Some random tequila. All the booze is stronger at Dickie’s,’ Johnny says and downs his too. ‘Ooh, I need another. You?’ ‘Hit me!’ V grins. He turns to Kerry again, stepping closer so he won’t have to shout over the music, but Johnny can still hear. ‘Y’know, and sorry if this is forward, but I’d really love to jam some time. I mean, I suck, but Johnny’s been givin’ me some pointers on my guitar playin’. Your style is different, I’d love to see it up close.’ Johnny sees Kerry swallow. V’s mouth is right next to his ear. ‘Uh, yeah. Maybe.’ ‘Nova.’ V accepts a second drink from Johnny and drains it immediately. ‘Okay, boys, I dunno about you, but I’m in a gay bar for the first time in my life, so I wanna dance!’ He turns and heads for the dance floor, swinging his hips. Johnny and Kerry watch him go. ‘He’s never been to a gay bar before?’ Kerry asks. Johnny shakes his head. ‘’Parently not. Kid’s a nomad, he grew up in the Badlands. Says he’d been to NC, like, twice before I took him here.’ He leans closer. ‘I know he looks a little innocent, but trust me when I say, he is not.’ Kerry frowns. ‘How old is he, anyway? Looks barely outta high school.’ ‘Well, pretty sure he never went to high school. But he’s twenty-four.’ ‘What, really?’ Kerry scoffs and looks around the room. The club’s got everything from twinks to bears to muscle daddies. Athletic though he may be, V falls squarely in the twink category in this setting. ‘He’s gonna get eaten alive in here if he’s not careful.’ ‘Yeah,’ Johnny agrees and grins. ‘Better go keep the wolves off him.’ Kerry nods. ‘Okay. Be there in a sec. I think I need another drink.’ Johnny heads for the dance floor, where he finds V already grinding with some Latino guy who dances far too well. Johnny grabs V by the hips and presses up against his back, murmuring in his ear, ‘Hey, pay attention to me.’ V laughs. ‘Fuck, you’re needy, Silverhand. Plenty of me to go ’round.’ Johnny sees Kerry approaching and lets go of V, turning to his friend instead. ‘See anythin’ you like? Aside from me, I mean?’ Johnny smirks. Kerry narrows his eyes. ‘Why?’ he asks. ‘Well, aim of comin’ here was to get us all laid tonight, wasn’t it?’ Johnny shrugs. Kerry frowns at him. ‘Thought you were with V.’ ‘Yeah, we’re fucking, but we don’t need to go to a gay bar to do that.’ He drapes his arm over Kerry’s shoulder. ‘Variety’s the spice of life, choomba. Live it!’ He lets go and slaps Kerry’s ass. ‘Gotta go take a piss. Keep an eye on V, okay? Keep him outta trouble till I get back.’ He leaves the dance floor. # Kerry turns his eyes to the younger man with the purple hair. He looks like he’s having fun. He turns around in the arms of the man he’s dancing with, so his back is against the man’s front, pink and purple disco lights cascading over his body as he moves. Catching Kerry’s eye, he winks. ‘Get over here, Eurodyne!’ he calls. Kerry moves closer. ‘Don’t say my name so loud, ya gonk. I’m tryna go incognito here.’ V laughs. ‘Yeah, good luck with that. Hate to be the one to tell you this, but you’re objectively the hottest guy in here. People are gonna notice and recognise you eventually.’ Kerry frowns and looks around. He’s definitely attracting a few stares. He should know better than to think he can go clubbing without getting recognised these days. He’s so sick of groupies . . . Then it hits him that V just called him the hottest guy in the room, and he turns his eyes back on the younger man. ‘Fuck ’em,’ says V, as if he’s reading Kerry’s mind. ‘Come dance with me instead.’ Kerry raises an eyebrow at him. ‘What d’you mean?’ ‘I know that look,’ V says. ‘Seen it on Johnny’s face. Like he’s suspicious whenever someone’s interested in ’im ’cause he can’t be sure why. He’s been away long enough that folks in here may not recognise him, though. But you they’ll know. So, if one of ’em approaches you, you’ll be wonderin’ whether they’re groupies or actually into you. And if you want a groupie, you don’t need to go clubbin’ for that.’ V frees himself from his dance partner’s wandering hands and steps close to Kerry, putting his arms around his neck and whispering in his ear, ‘I ain’t a groupie. So, dance with me.’ Kid’s observant, Kerry’ll give him that. He slides his arms around V’s waist. He’s slim under the loose t-shirt, and a few inches shorter than Kerry. But his arms are muscular, and Kerry can tell through the tight jeans that his legs are too. V moves closer still, pressing his whole body up against Kerry. He smells like nice soap and clean sweat, and underneath there’s a hint of something else. Something a little bit like motor oil. He sways his hips to the music—boy’s got rhythm even if he’s not used to going dancing. Kerry lets his hands wander a little down over V’s hips and ass, and V looks up at him with a mischievous glint in his eye. ‘Whatcha doin’?’ he says innocently. Kerry shrugs. ‘Dancin’ with a cute boy.’ V laughs. Behind him, Johnny appears again. He approaches, placing his hands on V’s hips and pressing up against his back. ‘You two behaving yourselves?’ Grinning, V looks over his shoulder. ‘Hey, Johnny. We are.’ ‘Well, we can’t have that,’ says Johnny and captures V’s lips. Kerry feels a sudden surge of jealousy, and for a moment he’s not sure which of them he’s actually jealous of. He pushes the thought away, letting instinct take over, and reaches out. The person he grabs by the back of the neck is V, pulling him away from Johnny and kissing him. V’s kiss is sloppy and open-mouthed, and very enthusiastic. He tastes like tequila and cigarettes, and his tongue is hot and insistent. He slips a hand up into Kerry’s hair, cradling the back of his head. Kerry glances at Johnny, who’s still grinding against V’s ass and is now kissing his exposed neck. He meets Kerry’s eye with an obvious and smug smirk. Cocky bastard. He fucking planned this! Kerry knows he should feel annoyed, maybe even insulted, that the fucker he still has ill-advised feelings for is trying to set him up with his own output. But Kerry can’t deny that V is hot, even if Kerry’s tended more toward beefcake in the past. V’s body feels good against his, and there’s something attractive and just sort of pleasant about his mannerisms and expressions. He’s also both attentive and observant, which is a huge turn-on. Now, he breaks the kiss and goes for Kerry’s throat instead. Johnny puts his chin on V’s shoulder and leans close to Kerry, his breath hot on Kerry’s lips. He plants a hard, chaste peck on them, then whispers in his ear, ‘You’re welcome.’ Finally, he lets go of V and steps back, scanning the dance floor for someone else to play with. Kerry watches him for another two seconds before he turns his undivided attention on the man in his arms, forgetting all about Johnny for several long, blissful minutes of making out with a hot young nomad on the crowded dance floor at Dicky Twister.
  2. Well, who do you think taught him to be like that? Thanks for commenting! As for the Rayfield, it's insured. lol
  3. I never had a nickname as a child; my birth name is two syllables over four letters. All the nicknames I've ever had, I came up with myself, so I don't know if it counts.
  4. Do you have your fic published somewhere? I'd love to read it! I don't have a lot of merch, but I did get myself the fancy edition of the World of Cyberpunk 2077 book, with the Silverhand poster and the fake gang tattoos, lol! I just put up another short here like an hour ago, btw.
  5. December 2006 It’s an impulse. Johnny stumbles out of the stage door of the concert venue, drunk and still on a stage high, and the car is just there. This flashy, brand-new Rayfield that clearly belongs to some rich corpo douchebag, sitting in the parking lot like it owns the place, lit up in purple and red by the neon sign above the entrance to the strip joint next door. He picks up a rock, hefting it in his hand. It’s got a sharp edge, which is perfect, and he walks up to the car. ‘Johnny?’ It’s Kerry’s voice behind him. They were going out for a smoke. ‘What’re you doin’?’ ‘Makin’ art,’ says Johnny, then starts scratching into the immaculate paint job. Kerry wets his lips nervously. ‘Whose car is that?’ ‘Dunno,’ says Johnny. ‘Don’t care. Owner can’t care much either, leavin’ it out here like an asshole. Only got themself to blame.’ The rock scrapes against the metal with a loud screeching noise, like nails on a blackboard. Johnny steps back and admires his handiwork. The side of the car now reads, SAMURAI. Johnny makes his way around to the front of the car and smashes the left headlight with the rock. It’s exhilarating, makes the stage high soar even higher. When he does, though, the car lets out a shrill, continuous shriek as the alarm goes off, like an amp in a feedback loop. Took it long enough; what a shitty alarm system for such a fancy car. Johnny drops the rock. ‘Fuck!’ Kerry grabs his hand. ‘C’mon, Johnny, run!’ ‘Guitars’re inside!’ Johnny protests. ‘The others will handle it! For fuck’s sake, Johnny, we need to delta the fuck outta here!’ Johnny shrugs, kicking the right headlight for good measure, and is about to let Kerry drag him away when he hears a loud, angry voice. ‘The fuck you do to my car, you punks!?’ A man is standing in the open doorway to the strip joint. He’s wearing an immaculate suit and sporting top-range chrome. Coloured lights and pop music spill out from behind him. ‘Fuck you, corpo cunt!’ Johnny yells, pulling his hand out of Kerry’s grasp. Never mind that he’s unarmed at the moment and this guy is almost definitely packing; Johnny just got off stage after playing for a crowd of a thousand. He feels nigh euphoric, alcohol and adrenaline mixing in his system. Then he hears sirens in the distance. Of course the cops would rush out in seconds to rescue some poor, defenceless corpo’s property. Doesn’t leave much time to trash the car, but that only serves to make him even more excited as he picks up another rock and hurls it at the windshield, which shatters. ‘Johnny!’ Kerry grabs his hand again. ‘Seriously, come on, we have to go!’ This time, Johnny allows himself to be dragged away. The corpo’s on his phone now, and they’ve amassed an audience. They’re not exactly incog-fucking-nito, they’ve been seen and will probably be caught no matter what they do, but Kerry races ahead, desperately looking for a way out of the parking lot, and Johnny follows because why the hell not. He’s the one who spots the motorbike first, and he runs for it. It’s not his first time stealing one of those, and it’s easy enough to hack. ‘Kerry!’ he calls. Kerry only hesitates for a second, but with the cops approaching it feels like an age. Finally, he gets on the back of the bike, pressed up against Johnny’s back with his arms tightly around his waist, breath hot on the back of his neck. After taking a second to adjust to his passenger, Johnny starts it up and they speed out of the parking lot just as the police car comes into view. ‘That’s them!’ the angry car owner yells, pointing. ‘After them! Don’t let them get away!’ Johnny has no plan. He sets off with a loud whoop in a random direction, then makes a u-turn as he realises that will put them straight in the cop car’s path. Kerry cries out in surprise at the sudden turn. Johnny revs the engine and sets off away from their pursuers. He doesn’t notice the red light, or the truck that’s driving out into the intersection. ‘Johnny, look out!’ It’s too late to stop, and they’re not going fast enough to pass in front of it, but Johnny somehow manages to swerve and slow down enough that they don’t crash into the truck. Still, the motorcycle slides, he loses control, and before Johnny knows it, they’re sprawled in the middle of the road next to the overturned bike, sirens rapidly approaching. Thank fuck they hadn’t had time to pick up too much speed, or they’d be roadkill. Even so, Johnny’s head hurts, he’s pretty sure he’s given himself whiplash, and the palm of his organic hand is badly scraped and bleeding. Just as he manages to get up, the police car comes to a screeching halt and an officer pops out, pointing a gun at them. ‘NCPD! Hands in the air!’ she yells. ‘Fucking pig!’ Johnny shouts back and spits on the ground—there’s blood mixed in and he licks his lip, which stings; it’s split and bleeding—but he knows when to back down. He raises his hands into the air, and once Kerry’s off the ground, he does the same. He doesn’t look much better, both pant legs torn, showing ugly, bloodied scrapes on his knees, and he has another scratch on his forehead, blood trickling down the side of his face. Neither one of them is armed; they couldn’t fight back at this point even if they wanted to. A second police officer approaches them with handcuffs. He starts with Johnny, grabbing his hands and pinning them behind his back. ‘Ooh, kinky!’ Johnny smirks. Kerry just rolls his eyes where he stands next to him, hands still in the air. With Johnny’s wrists safely cuffed, the officer turns to Kerry. ‘This really necessary?’ Kerry grumbles while the cop manhandles him. ‘Shut up, punk!’ the cop says, and Johnny has just enough presence of mind not to kick him in the dick for being so careless with his friend. Wouldn’t do either of them any good. They’re roughly shoved into the back of the police car and left there while the officers do whatever it is pigs do before they lock you up. Kerry lays his head back against the neck rest, eyes shut tightly, and groans. ‘Fuuuuck, my dad’s gonna kill me!’ Johnny just grins at him. ‘We’ll be fine! Label’ll bail us out.’ Kerry gives him a sidelong glance, frowning. ‘How you figure?’ ‘You got any idea how good this is gonna look for ’em?’ ‘That we trashed some guy’s car, crashed a bike and got arrested?’ Kerry scoffs. ‘You’re crazy.’ ‘This is PR, man! Us against some rich-ass motherfucker? Trust me. They’ll bail us out. Prolly settle the whole thing with that corpo-douche too.’ Johnny shifts and he winces as his scraped up palm rubs against the metal of his chrome hand. ‘That why you trashed that guy’s car? For publicity? What, you had this fucking planned!?’ Kerry’s clearly freaking out now. ‘Seriously, chill out, man! There was no plan. Jesus . . . Did it ’cause I thought it’d be fun.’ Johnny grins. ‘And it was. You should take a more proactive role next time, Ker. Be good for ya. Bring out that rocker’s soul you got hidden in there somewhere.’ Johnny gives him a smirk for good measure. Kerry laughs. ‘Fuck you, man! Ugh . . . gettin’ arrested and I didn’t even do anything. And—’ he looks down at his lap, eyes going wide. ‘Holy shit, look at my knees!’ ‘See? Join the fun next time and it won’t be for nothin’.’ Johnny glances out the back window, his reflection looking back in flashing red and blue. ‘Hey, Kerry.’ ‘Mhm?’ ‘You ever make out in the back of a police car before?’ Kerry scoffs. ‘Johnny, I’ve never been in the back of a police car before.’ ‘Well, you wanna?’ Kerry just stares at him for a few moments, looking bewildered. Johnny can understand why. It’s not like he’s ever initiated a kiss with Kerry before (which isn’t to say they haven’t done it many, many times, it’s just always Kerry who makes the first move). But he just feels good right now, feels alive and a little turned on from all the adrenaline, and he really wants to make out. And Kerry’s the only one here. Well, he’ll do. It takes way longer than Johnny expected, but in the end Kerry nods, and Johnny leans in. He starts slow, the kiss lazy and almost chaste. Horny though he is, Johnny’s in no real hurry. But Kerry will have none of that and dives in with his tongue, and Johnny can’t fight the groan drawn from his throat. He’ll never admit this to Kerry, but the boy’s a good kisser. He meets Kerry’s tongue with his own. Kerry’s hot mouth tastes of beer and cigarettes, mixing in with the metallic tang of blood from Johnny’s split lip, which aches pleasantly. Johnny throws his mind back to the concert earlier, soloing back-to-back with Kerry, screaming into the same microphone, like they always do. There are no guitars involved now and they’re face-to-face, but making out isn’t entirely unlike singing a duet. He wonders how the audience would react if they actually kissed on stage. The thought makes him smile. When they come up for air, Kerry stares at him, wide-eyed, like he can’t believe they just did that. It’s kind of cute. Johnny shakes his head and laughs. ‘What’s the matter?’ ‘Nothing.’ Kerry swallows. His face is flushed, his lips swollen and red from kissing. No, Johnny realises a second later, they’re stained from contact with his bleeding lip. Kerry looks hot, even with blood on his face. Maybe especially with blood on his face—evidence of rebellion. Then he leans in again, and they kiss some more. Johnny wishes his hands were free. Wishes Kerry’s hands were free. He figures the only thing hotter than making out in the back of a police car would be giving each other hand jobs too. His dick fills out in his pants at the thought. He was a little turned on before, but now he really wants to get off. They don’t stop when the cops get into the front seat, the car rocking a little, even as one of them notices and says, ‘The fuck are they doing?’ The other one shakes her head and grumbles, ‘Goddamn rockerboy gonks . . .’ They make out the whole way to the police station. # After they’ve received some basic first aid (and it’s a fucking miracle neither of them has more than a mild concussion to worry about, though Kerry’s shoulder is a little worse for wear from where he landed on it), Johnny uses his phone call to get in touch with Nancy. ‘Hey, Nance?’ ‘Johnny! Where the fuck are you? Is Kerry with you?’ Johnny rolls his eyes. ‘Yeah, Kerry’s with me. Just landed the PR coup of the century.’ There’s silence for a moment. When Nancy speaks it’s with a definite air of suspicion. ‘What did you do now, Johnny?’ ‘Well . . . we kinda got arrested.’ He hears her sigh. ‘For fuck’s sake . . . So it really was you who trashed that guy’s car?’ ‘Yup,’ says Johnny proudly. ‘Just me, actually, but Kerry’s a good choomba; just wouldn’t let me go down alone.’ ‘Right. Sure. He okay, though?’ ‘He’s fine,’ says Johnny dismissively, neglecting to mention the motorcycle accident. No need to cause a freak-out, they walked away from it okay. ‘Don’t worry about it. Anyway, can you take care of our guitars?’ ‘That why you called me of all people?’ Nancy sounds incredulous. ‘That and I figured the band should know,’ says Johnny. ‘Well, we already got your guitars in the van. Thanks for keeping us posted on what fuck-ups you are, I guess.’ She laughs. Seems like she’s finally seeing the absurdity of the situation. ‘Jesus Christ, Johnny . . . Never a dull moment with you, that’s for sure. What’re you gonna do about bail?’ ‘I’m pretty sure the label will cover it. Kerry’s gonna use his call for that.’ Johnny glances over his shoulder. ‘Aren’t you, Ker?’ Kerry just gives him the finger. ‘Huh, yeah. Front men of their new big chart-topping band getting arrested for destruction of property? You set that up on purpose or something? Well played if so,’ says Nancy, then amends, ‘Nah, ’course you didn’t, you’re not smart enough for that. Just a lucky gonk accident. Still, good PR.’ ‘My thoughts exactly,’ says Johnny, ignoring the slight on his intelligence just this once; it’s not like she’s wrong. ‘And we’re on contract for a tour and another album, so they wouldn’t let us rot in prison. I mean, not over a car.’ And a motorbike. ‘Well, all right. I’ll let the others know what’s going on. Stay put.’ Johnny snorts. ‘Yeah. Thanks.’ He and Kerry change places, Kerry looking deeply uncomfortable while he explains to their manager why they need to be bailed out of jail. When he hangs up, he turns to Johnny, lips in a thin line. ‘They’re gonna bail us out, but sounds like they’re leavin’ us to stew overnight.’ ‘Well,’ Johnny smirks, ‘better hope they put us in the same cell. You’re too pretty for this place.’ # True to their word, the label posts bail and they’re picked up by their manager Steve the following morning, tired and aching but none of worse for wear. Though he’s been telling himself the label will be nothing but pleased, Johnny thought the man would at least look disapproving. But, to Johnny’s unexpected relief, he does not. On the contrary, he beams at them both. ‘Mornin’, boys!’ As they get in the backseat of his car, Steve tosses them a screamsheet. ‘Page three.’ They open it to the specified page, and looking back at them is a picture of Kerry and Johnny. A picture of Kerry and Johnny kissing in the back of a police car, under red and blue lights. The headline reads: Under Arrest! Silverhand and Eurodyne get cosy. Kerry gapes. ‘What the—how did they even get this?’ ‘Media drone, prolly,’ says Johnny nonchalantly. Kerry squints at him. ‘And you wouldn’t happen to have noticed this media drone, did you?’ ‘Me? No way!’ Johnny shakes his head, but halfway through, the shake turns to a kind of bob and he amends, ‘Weeeell, I might have caught a glimpse of it. Wasn’t sure what it was, though.’ ‘You asshole!’ Kerry growls. Then his apparent anger gives way to that sad puppy look and he lowers his eyes to his lap, fidgeting anxiously with his hands. ‘Did you only kiss me ’cause of that?’ Johnny’s fully ready to shrug his shoulder and refuse to answer, or even to tell him that he absolutely did—even though it’s not true—but Kerry almost looks like he’s about to cry or something equally awkward, and as much as he likes teasing, not even Johnny’s that much of an asshole; he can’t bring himself to be that mean to him. Not right now. ‘’Course not,’ he says. ‘Did it ’cause I was bored and horny and I thought it’d be fun.’ Kerry’s sad look turns to a sheepish grin, and then he laughs. ‘You’re such an asshole, Johnny.’ ‘Yeah, but I’m a lovable asshole,’ says Johnny, putting his arms behind his head and leaning back in the seat. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Kerry smile. ‘Yeah.’
  6. ‘You ever make out in the back of a police car before?’ Kerry scoffs. ‘Johnny, I’ve never been in the back of a police car before.’ ‘Well, you wanna?’ ———————— Johnny has a tendency to get in trouble, and he usually drags Kerry down with him. or: Be gay, do crime. Cyberpunk 2077 & 2020 fanfiction. Kerry/Johnny.
  7. Haha, yeah, I've been hyperfixating on this game and this world for like four months now... As you may or may not have noticed, this fic is part of a series. I'm posting it all on AO3 as well (a little bit ahead there, since there hasn't been much interest here before now, I've just been posting it because I wanted to be more active than I've been lately). It's weird about River, because since pronoun determines gender and is tied to voice and not body type, and you only have to have femme body type and not voice to romance him, he is technically bisexual? But just picky, I guess? I dunno. Same with Panam. It's weird. And Kerry had a wife and has kids and shit. The only love interest whose sexuality isn't ambiguous is Judy (and of course that's the first one that got modded, go figure). Thanks for commenting! I'm glad you liked this. Hope you'll check out the other stuff as well.
  8. March, 2006 ‘You guys goin’ to Cole’s birthday party on Saturday?’ Henry’s still plucking the strings of his bass while the rest of them pack down. ‘Can’t,’ says Nancy. ‘Got a date.’ Denny makes a face. ‘This that college guy you were talkin’ about?’ ‘Yes. And what is up with that face?’ Nancy folds her arms over her chest. ‘I’m a big girl, I know what I’m doing.’ Denny shrugs. ‘Well, okay. Just sayin’, you don’t have the best track record when it comes to your outputs.’ Nancy just rolls her eyes and flips her off. ‘What about you, Kerry?’ says Henry, ignoring the girls. ‘You comin’ to the party?’ Kerry’s in the process of putting his guitar away, and he fidgets with the lock on his case. ‘I dunno . . .’ Big house parties were never really his thing. Kerry can be outgoing when he wants to, and he enjoys drinking and hanging out with people he likes, but it’s easier to keep track of the conversation in smaller groups—less grating on the nerves when he doesn’t have to filter out all those voices at once. ‘Who is this guy?’ Johnny asks, shutting his gig bag. ‘Classmate,’ says Henry. ‘It’s his eighteenth birthday, and his family left him alone in a big-ass house to celebrate, so he’s invited, like, all the juniors and seniors at school. Bet he wouldn’t mind if you tagged along.’ ‘Oh, I’m definitely going!’ says Johnny. ‘Maybe I’ll go,’ says Kerry. ‘I mean, if Johnny’s going. Better if he knows a couple of people there.’ ‘I’m good at making friends,’ says Johnny with a shrug and a grin. ‘So don’t force yourself on my account.’ ‘No, I wanna go,’ says Kerry with a strained smile. ‘Totally. It’ll be fun!’ # Taking a gloomy sip of his beer—which is cheap and tepid and not even close to his drink of choice—Kerry thinks he should have foreseen this. Johnny disappeared in the crowd after about ten minutes and Henry’s busy trying to chat up Denny (who’s still not having it), and so Kerry’s ended up in the kitchen, where the atmosphere is marginally more chill, just like he always does at parties, chatting with some people he barely knows and sipping shitty beer. He’s surprised when some girl comes up to him out of nowhere, puts a hand on his arm, and whispers, ‘Quick! Pretend you’re my output!’ Kerry blinks in bemusement, looking down at the hand on his arm. Who is this girl? ‘What? Why?’ ‘I need to get this guy off my back and my boyfriend’s not here tonight.’ ‘Oh.’ Kerry decides to just roll with it and nods. ‘Well, okay.’ ‘Thank you!’ The strange girl takes his hand, lacing their fingers together, and kisses him on the cheek. ‘Where’d you get off to?’ someone slurs, and Kerry turns to see one of his classmates stumble in their direction. ‘Hey, baby, we were just gettin’ to the good part!’ ‘I told you,’ she says, ‘I’ve got a boyfriend!’ She wraps her other hand around Kerry’s bicep. ‘What, this guy?’ ‘Yeah,’ says Kerry, squaring his shoulders. ‘She’s mine. Back off!’ ‘Shit, sorry, dude.’ Kerry’s pretty sure the guy doesn’t even recognise him. ‘Didn’t know I was movin’ in on your turf.’ As the guy walks away again, Kerry turns to the girl. ‘This happen to you a lot?’ She sighs. ‘More often than you know. Thanks for saving me. I’m Lisa.’ ‘Lisa. I’m Kerry. Nice to meet you.’ Kerry smiles. She’s cute, to the extent he finds girls cute. He’s yet to meet one that captures his attention more than just in passing. This one has brown hair that fades into bubblegum pink at the ends, moonlight pale skin, and a very short dress. And, apparently, a boyfriend. ‘Yeah, you too. Hey, if this isn’t too forward . . . think you could keep being my pretend boyfriend? You seem nice, and I really don’t wanna end up in bed with some gonk if I get too drunk . . . James’ll kill me.’ She laughs. It’s an odd request, but Kerry is nothing if not accommodating. ‘Sure. Of course.’ ‘Thank you! You’re a junior, right?’ she continues. ‘I’ve seen you before.’ ‘Yeah,’ Kerry says. ‘You?’ ‘Senior.’ ‘Oh, cool. You know Nance, then?’ ‘Oh, yeah, are you friends?’ Kerry grins. ‘We play in a band together. Started a few months ago. Actually had a couple gigs already.’ ‘Wow, that’s awesome! What’s the band called?’ ‘Samurai,’ says a familiar voice; Johnny saunters into the kitchen. ‘We’re called Samurai. Hey, I’m Johnny.’ ‘Lisa,’ says Lisa, her eyes suddenly wide as she takes him in. A slight flush blooms in her cheeks—not that Kerry blames her. ‘You, uh . . . you’re in the band too?’ ‘Yeah,’ says Kerry quickly. ‘He plays guitar. I do too. And sing.’ ‘I sometimes sing too,’ says Johnny, folding his arms over his chest and looking her over with a mischievous smirk. ‘That’s a real pretty dress you’re wearin’.’ Kerry expects Lisa to smile and thank him and tell him she has a boyfriend, but instead she giggles coquettishly, the blush setting deeper in her cheeks, and bats her eyes at him. ‘You’re so sweet,’ she says. ‘Hey, would you give me a minute with Johnny?’ Kerry asks her, pulling Johnny behind the counter island next to the sink. ‘You shouldn’t flirt with her,’ he tells Johnny in a hushed tone. ‘Oh, am I movin’ in on your input? Sorry, dude, I didn’t realise.’ ‘No. No, she’s not my input. But I’m pretending she is, ’cause she has a boyfriend but he’s not here tonight. You know, to keep the guys off her.’ ‘She really didn’t seem like she minded,’ says Johnny nonchalantly. Kerry sighs and scratches his forehead. ‘Whatever, man. Do what you want. I’m just letting you know.’ ‘Thanks, Ker. ’Preciate it.’ Johnny pats Kerry on the shoulder and approaches Lisa again. ‘So, Lisa, was it? You play any instruments?’ ‘I played piano when I was a kid but I suck at practising.’ She laughs, then traces a finger lightly up the metal of his cyberarm. ‘Nice chrome. D’you go to our school? Feel like I’d recognise you.’ ‘No. I’m focusing on my music,’ says Johnny. ‘Y’know . . . followin’ my heart.’ He gives her his most charming smile and Kerry rolls his eyes. This is gonna be a long night. # The party’s starting to wind down as people head home, and it’s time to divvy up the bed spaces for those who remain. Cole, the birthday boy, wanders amid the remaining guests to ask who wants to stay over. ‘Lisa, you goin’ home tonight?’ ‘I prolly shouldn’t,’ she says with a giggle. ‘I’m a lil’ drunk . . . my mom won’t be happy with me.’ ‘Well, my sister’s bedroom upstairs is free, but you’ll have to find someone to share with if everyone’s gonna fit. You stayin’ over too, Kerry?’ ‘Yeah, I can share with Lisa,’ says Kerry quickly, putting his arm around her shoulders. ‘If . . . if that’s okay with you, Lisa.’ ‘Oh. Yeah, that’s fine.’ She smiles and leans into him. ‘Thanks for taking care of me, Kerry!’ Cole’s talking to Johnny, who waves a hand dismissively and tells him he can just crash on the floor or wherever’s left once everyone else is in bed. Neither the hungry look he gives Lisa nor the furtive way she glances at him goes unnoticed by Kerry. So it goes without saying that when Kerry and Lisa go upstairs to Cole’s sister’s bedroom, Johnny follows like the stray cat he is. And of course he ends up sharing the bed, which is thankfully a queen size. And of course it turns out Lisa doesn’t mind cheating on her output if it’s with someone as hot as Johnny, and so Kerry lies on his side, facing away from them, while Lisa and Johnny dock. He wonders if it’d be weird if he jerked off, because the sound of Johnny’s low pants as he approaches his climax is definitely doing things to him, but he decides against doing something about it. Would be awkward, and his arousal makes him feel like some kind of peeping Tom, even though the two of them chose to fuck right next to him. When it’s over, he waits for a little bit, until Johnny and Lisa have settled down, before he says over his shoulder, ‘Want a smoke, Johnny?’ ‘You were awake!?’ Lisa squeaks, and Kerry laughs in spite of himself. ‘Kinda hard to sleep through that, to be honest.’ He sits up and grabs his jeans off the floor, grateful that he chose a loose pair today. ‘So, smoke?’ ‘Yeah, sure,’ says Johnny. ‘I don’t smoke,’ Lisa mumbles, hiding her face under the covers, so all they see is brown and bubblegum pink hair splayed out on the pillow. Kerry pulls on his jeans, trying—and only slightly failing—not to look while Johnny disposes of the condom and pulls on his pants, remaining shirtless. They leave Lisa in the bed and head downstairs. A few people are still up. They take in Johnny’s messy hair and bare chest and give them both pointed looks. ‘Shit,’ says Kerry as realisation dawns on him, ‘they think we had sex!’ Johnny shrugs. ‘So let ’em. Who cares?’ They step out onto the back porch. Johnny seems immune to the cold, or maybe he’s just still hot after the physical exertion. Kerry passes him a cigarette and lights it for him, the flame illuminating Johnny’s face for a moment. He’s looking straight into Kerry’s eyes. Kerry turns away, hiding his blush, because Johnny smells of sex and that causes something to tighten in the pit of Kerry’s stomach. ‘So,’ he says, lighting his own cigarette and taking a deep drag, ‘how was it?’ Johnny shrugs. ‘It was okay. Y’know, pretty girl, warm cunt . . .’ Kerry coughs, inhaling more smoke than he meant to, and Johnny pats him on the back. ‘You okay, choomba?’ Kerry clears his throat. ‘Uh, yeah. Yeah, I’m good.’ Johnny studies his face for a long moment. ‘Hey . . . if you were tryna get with her, I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to cock-block.’ ‘You didn’t,’ says Kerry, looking away again. ‘I’m not interested in her.’ I’m interested in you. ‘Well, okay . . . If you’re sure.’ ‘I’m gay,’ says Kerry, ’cause he’s been thinking it for a while and he may as well say it now. Johnny won’t judge. Johnny snorts and blows out a puff of smoke. ‘Nah, I’ve seen you look at girls too. You’re bi.’ Kerry cocks his eyebrow at him. ‘What, you’re gonna dictate my own sexual orientation to me now?’ ‘Just callin’ it like I see it,’ says Johnny with a shrug and puts the cigarette to his lips again. Kerry sighs, looking down at his bare feet. ‘Whatever.’ He gives Johnny a side-long glance. ‘Are you bi?’ Johnny scoffs. ‘What do you think?’ They stand there in silence, smoking their cigarettes down to the filter, and then Johnny grabs Kerry’s wrist, pulling him out of the porch light and pushing him up against the wall of the house. The grey brick feels rough against Kerry’s back, even through his t-shirt. Johnny palms the front of Kerry’s jeans, squeezing his hard-on. ‘Fuckin’ knew it,’ he murmurs. ‘C’mon, lemme help you with this.’ He pulls down Kerry’s pants and takes his cock in his hand. Kerry gasps, closing his eyes. ‘Fuck, Johnny . . .’ he whispers, then moans softly. ‘Shh.’ Johnny places a metal finger on Kerry’s lips and shakes his head. ‘Then kiss me,’ says Kerry. He half expects Johnny to recoil at the idea, like he did the last time they did something like this, but instead, he obliges, pressing his lips to Kerry’s and swallowing every sound while he jerks him off. After coming all over Johnny’s fist, Kerry reaches for the button in Johnny’s pants, but Johnny steps away, wiping his hand on the hem of Kerry’s t-shirt. ‘No thanks,’ he says, ‘I just came.’ He says it in the tone of someone declining an offer of a bite to eat. ‘Okay.’ Kerry tucks himself away, zipping up his pants. ‘We, uh . . . should prolly get back to bed.’ ‘Sure.’ Johnny shrugs. ‘I’ll just go to the bathroom first.’ Kerry returns to the bedroom. Lisa, who was lying between them in the middle of the bed before, has scooted closer to the edge and seems to be fast asleep. Kerry takes off his jeans and his t-shirt, which now has cum on it thanks to Johnny, and sits down on the bed, unsure of whether he should lie in the middle or on the opposite edge to Lisa. Before he has time to debate himself too much, Johnny shows up, taking his pants off and getting into the middle of the bed without a word. With a sigh, Kerry gets under the covers too, facing away from Johnny, but a few moments later, he feels Johnny snuggle up against his back, slipping his arm around Kerry’s waist and nosing at the nape of his neck. This is how they always end up when they sleep in the same bed. It makes Kerry’s heart swell and ache just a little—Johnny may have fucked Lisa, but he only ever cuddles with Kerry. He listens to Johnny’s steady breathing as he drifts off to sleep. # When they wake up the following morning, Lisa is surprisingly chipper. She laughs about the previous night, apologises to Kerry for making it awkward. After coffee in the kitchen with those of the hungover partygoers that are awake and not puking, the three of them leave Cole’s house together. Somehow, Kerry managed to scrape the crust of dried cum off his t-shirt, but he still feels gross. He’s jumping straight in the shower when he gets home. ‘We’ve got a gig comin’ up in a couple weeks,’ says Johnny, lighting a cigarette. ‘At the Rainbow Cadenza, up in Westbrook.’ He glances at her, and Kerry feels a squirm of jealousy at the way Johnny’s gaze travels down her body to her long, bare legs. ‘Sure, sounds like fun! Maybe I’ll bring James.’ She smiles. ‘Oh, your output?’ Kerry asks casually. She can’t be all that into doing Johnny again if she’s bringing her boyfriend to their concert. But Lisa laughs. ‘Oh, James isn’t really my output. He’s my best friend, he just pretends to be my boyfriend when I don’t want guys to bother me. He’s gay, actually. Shame, ’cause he’s really hot.’ She smiles at Kerry. ‘I’ll introduce you!’ At that moment, her taxi arrives. ‘Anyway, I’ll see you guys later!’ She gives them each a kiss on the cheek before getting into the taxi. Kerry just stares as the car drives away. She wants to set him up with her gay friend? Does that mean she could tell he’s attracted to Johnny? Can she tell he’s gay? Johnny laughs and claps him on the shoulder. ‘Should invite ’em backstage after the show. You need to get laid bad, Ker.’ Kerry swallows. ‘I . . . I don’t—’ ‘If you’re embarrassed, we could always do ’em both together.’ Johnny lets go of Kerry’s shoulder and starts off in the general direction of the nearest bus stop. ‘Is it already an orgy if it’s with four? Feels a little tame. Is foursome a word?’ After a moment of trying really hard not to think about having sex with someone else and Johnny at the same time, Kerry manages to shake himself and start following. He shouldn’t hope, he really shouldn’t. But a boy can dream, right?
  9. ‘Quick! Pretend you’re my output!’ Kerry blinks in bemusement, looking down at the hand on his arm. Who is this girl? ‘What? Why?’ ‘I need to get this guy off my back and my boyfriend’s not here tonight.’ ‘Oh.’ Kerry he decides to just roll with it and nods. ‘Well, okay.’ ————————— Kerry and Johnny go to a party. Johnny gets laid. Kerry doesn't. Not quite, anyway... Cyberpunk 2077/Cyberpunk 2020 ttrpg fanfic.
  10. Thorn Wilde


    Johnny texts Kerry the next morning to tell him he can’t make it to the studio later. It was naïve of him to think Kerry would just accept it, of course, as he calls a few minutes later. ‘What d’you mean, you can’t make it?’ he says gruffly, without so much as a hello. Johnny rolls his eyes. ‘Good morning to you too.’ It’s noon, not morning at all, but hey. Rockerboy time. ‘I can’t make it ’cause somethin’ came up, like I said.’ ‘Something came up?’ ‘Yeah.’ Johnny sighs. ‘Gotta do a favour for V.’ Kerry says nothing, but Johnny can picture him grinding his teeth in irritation. ‘Gotta go see Rogue,’ Johnny continues. ‘V’s lookin’ for work and she owes me.’ He pauses, considering. ‘Well, maybe not me. But she owes Santiago.’ ‘Your output wants to be a solo?’ Kerry asks. ‘Not my—’ Johnny begins automatically, then shakes his head. ‘Never mind. Anyway, that’s what I’m doin’, since you can’t just take my word for it when I say somethin’ else came up.’ ‘Well, then . . .’ Kerry grumbles something unintelligible. Johnny frowns. ‘Hopin’ he’ll get himself flatlined, aren’t you?’ he says coldly. ‘What?’ Kerry sounds horrified. ‘The fuck, Johnny? You really think I’m that petty?’ ‘I think you’re a jealous bitch,’ says Johnny. A brief silence follows before Kerry sighs and says, ‘It’s just . . . if we’re doin’ this, you gotta take it seriously, Johnny.’ ‘Hey, I came to you, remember?’ Johnny says. ‘I take it seriously. I’m committed. Okay?’ ‘Yeah. Okay.’ Another pause. ‘See you tomorrow, though?’ ‘Yeah, definitely. I’ll come by at three or somethin’.’ ‘Fine.’ They hang up just as V gets out of the bathroom, towel wrapped around his waist. ‘Kerry again?’ he asks. ‘Who the fuck else?’ Johnny shrugs. ‘Breakfast?’ ‘Coffee first.’ V smacks Johnny’s ass as he walks by. ‘You know, I used to get up at dawn every day before I met you,’ he grumbles. ‘Well, nothin’ happens in NC before noon anyway,’ says Johnny and follows him out of the bedroom. They leave the hotel around three, after breakfast and a nice fuck. Johnny figures there’s not much point in heading to the Atlantis straight away, so instead he takes V shopping. V protests—there’s nothing wrong with his clothes, he likes them, what’s he need new ones for?—but Johnny insists. ‘Style matters, V. You wanna make a good impression. Wanna be a merc, gotta look the part. ’Sides, wouldn’t hurt to get somethin’ a little sturdy, for protection.’ Johnny gets V a new synleather jacket with a ballistic fibre lining, a good, sturdy pair of cargo pants that are easy and comfortable to move in, and a pair of heavy duty combat boots. While V isn’t looking, he also picks up a pair of skinny jeans because he’s convinced V’s ass will look amazing in them—he’s pretty sure they’re the right size; saving those for later. Around five, after forcing V to change into his new outfit, they get in the car and head to the Atlantis. Johnny walks inside like he owns the place, just as always, and heads to the bar. It looks more or less the same as it did six years ago, which is somehow comforting; some things always stay the same. ‘Johnny Silverhand!’ Ringo grins, slinging the towel he’d been wiping down the bar with over his shoulder. ‘Where the fuck you been?’ ‘Been on the road for a while,’ Johnny says. ‘What can I get you? The usual?’ Johnny nods. ‘Sure.’ He turns to V. ‘Want anything?’ ‘Yeah, I’ll have whatever you’re havin’,’ says V. ‘So what brings you here?’ Ringo aks, pouring two shots of tequila. ‘Actually, I’m lookin’ for Rogue.’ Ringo shakes his head. ‘Sorry, she ain’t here. Don’t come here much anymore, actually.’ Johnny stares. ‘What? She ain’t a solo anymore?’ ‘No, she is. But she hangs at the Afterlife these days. Most of ’em do.’ ‘Afterlife?’ Johnny frowns. ‘Never heard of it.’ ‘Old mortuary. Got turned into a club few years back. Guess you were outta town.’ He passes them their drinks, and both Johnny and V down them in one. ‘So, where is it?’ ‘Halfway ’tween the Bank Block and the East Marina.’ ‘Thanks. Guess we’ll head there.’ Johnny steps back from the bar, touching V’s lower back. But then he hears a familiar voice. ‘That Johnny Silverhand I spy?’ He turns his head to see a woman with a long, dark braid. ‘Spider?’ Johnny grins. ‘Good to see you. How you been?’ ‘Oh, y’know. Doin’ my thing, spinning my webs.’ She gives him an appraising look, pursing her lips. ‘Aren’t you glad to see me?’ Johnny asks. ‘Well, that remains to be seen. Who’s your friend? New output?’ Johnny pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs. ‘He’s not—ugh, fuck it. This is V. A friend from the Aldecaldos.’ ‘Good to meet you,’ says V, smiling. ‘Murphy,’ says Spider, shaking his hand. ‘Folks call me Spider.’ ‘One of Night City’s most talented Netrunners,’ says Johnny. ‘Oh yeah?’ V smiles. ‘I’m kind of a tech enthusiast. What deck you got?’ ‘Okay, you two nerds can compare notes later,’ says Johnny, rolling his eyes. He does that all the fucking time these days. ‘We gotta go see Rogue.’ ‘Rogue? She ain’t here.’ ‘Yeah, so I’ve heard, so we’re headed to the Afterlife.’ ‘She won’t be happy to see you,’ says Spider. ‘I know. This ain’t for me.’ ‘It’s for me,’ says V. ‘I’m lookin’ for work. Santiago suggested I use his and Johnny’s mutual contacts.’ ‘Which pretty much means Rogue,’ Johnny adds. ‘Well,’ says Spider, ‘I’m meetin’ a contact of my own here in a few minutes, but good luck to you. You ever end up needing a skilled Netrunner on a job, V, ask Rogue to put you in touch.’ She turns to Johnny. ‘Still not sure if I’m happy to see you, but . . . I’m glad you’re not dead. Catch you later, I’m sure.’ ‘Yeah, see ya.’ Johnny puts his hand on V’s lower back again and escorts him away from the bar. ‘Cute how you can’t keep your hands off me,’ V remarks. ‘You didn’t get enough this morning?’ Johnny removes his hand, shrugging nonchalantly. ‘Just makin’ sure you know where you’re goin’. This place can be a maze.’ ‘Right.’ V smirks at him. ‘That’s all it is. Well, after you, then,’ he says, motioning for Johnny to take the lead, then lets his hand fall to the small of Johnny’s back and discreetly slide down to brush over his ass before he takes it back. ‘Tease,’ Johnny grumbles. ‘Hey, Johnny!’ It’s Spider’s voice again, and Johnny turns to see her making her way across the floor toward them. ‘Almost forgot.’ She steps close, speaking quietly in his ear. ‘Been doin’ some digging. Think I may have a lead on Alt.’ Johnny freezes, suddenly cold. ‘She’s definitely somewhere, and I’m gettin’ closer, but . . . keep gettin’ locked out. Stinks of Arasaka, but I got no idea how they’re doin’ it.’ Johnny wets his lips. ‘Not now,’ he murmurs. ‘I’ll call you later.’ ‘Sure. Just thought you’d wanna know. It’s slow goin’, but I’m one step closer.’ ‘Yeah. Good.’ Johnny nods, then turns to V again. ‘Let’s go, V.’ # The Afterlife is easy enough to find. The two of them are greeted at the door by a tall, broad-shouldered bouncer who looks them over with cold cybernetic eyes. ‘Here for biz?’ ‘Lookin’ for Rogue,’ says Johnny. ‘She know you?’ ‘I’m her old pal Johnny,’ says Johnny, removing his shades and looking the man in the eye. The bouncer’s left eyebrow cocks almost imperceptibly. ‘As in Silverhand? Who was with ’er on the Arasaka hit a few years back?’ ‘Who hired her for the hit,’ Johnny corrects him. ‘That’d be me.’ The bouncer nods. ‘All right. Go on in.’ He looks V up and down as he passes. V tries not to feel offended when he says, ‘Keep an eye on yer pet. And careful with Rogue. Don’t wanna piss her off.’ ‘Yeah, yeah,’ says Johnny. ‘I know what I’m doin’.’ V isn’t convinced he does. Johnny seems almost nervous as they head down the steps—a hint of restless energy in his posture and the slightest flicker of anxiety in his eye. Whoever Rogue is, the two of them clearly have some kind of history. If she’s pissed, odds are they were close. Seems to V no one hates Johnny quite as much as the people who love him. Johnny steps up to the bar and questions the bartender, who directs them to the next room, which he refers to as the Crypt. ‘They sure take the whole old morgue thing seriously, don’t they?’ V says as they start heading for the door the bartender pointed them toward. ‘Guess it’s all part of the gimmick. Makes the place seem sinister, that’s for sure.’ When they enter the Crypt, Johnny looks around for a second, then seems to catch sight of who he’s looking for. He swallows, working his jaw a little, before turning left with a purpose. V follows behind. He glances around as they walk. Everyone in here looks dangerous—some are wearing combat armour, nearly all are scarred, some are bruised and bloody, clearly just back from a job, their comrades passing them drinks and toasting their health. Johnny stops before a booth and V comes to a halt next to him. In it sits a woman Johnny’s age with a mullethawk that can’t quite seem to decide if it’s green or blue and a black jacket of synleather and vinyl. She looks up when Johnny’s shadow falls across her table, not a hint of surprise in her glare. ‘Look who finally decided to show up,’ she says coldly. Johnny folds his arms over his chest. He leans up against a column and puts on his Southern charm. When he responds, it sounds light and unconcerned, though V can tell his guard’s up. ‘What's wrong, did ya miss me?’ he drawls. She scoffs, getting to her feet. ‘In your pathetic dreams. You run off and hide for six years—’ ‘Oh, c’mon, you knew I was with Santiago!’ ‘—and you’ve been in town more than a week now, but you didn’t even think to get in touch?’ She takes a breath as though to continue, but the moment passes and she sighs, shaking her head. Johnny groans, throwing his hands in the air. ‘’Course you were followin’ me around!’ ‘I wasn’t—ugh!’ She grimaces, folds her arms. ‘Just get it over with. What the hell do you want?’ ‘A favour,’ says Johnny. ‘Not for me,’ he adds hurriedly when her expression darkens. ‘This is V. He’s one of Santiago’s Aldecaldos. He’s lookin’ for work.’ ‘Hey.’ V gives her a lopsided smile. ‘How you doin’?’ ‘V,’ she says. ‘That some kinda alias?’ ‘Nickname, I guess,’ says V. ‘Name’s Vincent, but . . . only my mom calls me that.’ Rogue looks him up and down sceptically. ‘How old are you, kid?’ ‘Twenty-four,’ says V, and her eyebrows rise toward her hairline. ‘I know, I don’t look it, bla bla bla.’ Rogue sighs. ‘Fine. Sit. You,’ she points at Johnny, ‘fuck off in the meantime.’ Johnny shrugs. ‘Fine.’ He heads for the bar. ‘So,’ says Rogue as they both sit down, all biz now, ‘Santiago’ll vouch for ya?’ ‘Think so. It was his idea to look for mercenary work.’ ‘And what are you doing in Night City? Why’d you leave the family?’ ‘Wouldn’t say I left ’em, ’zactly,’ says V, shrugging. ‘Prolly go back eventually. But Johnny asked me along to see the city. He spends most days jamming with Kerry, so I need something to fill the time. Plus, a few eddies wouldn’t hurt.’ A look of surprise passes over Rogue’s face at the mention of Kerry’s name, but it is quickly replaced with the same air of professional detachment. ‘And what’re your talents?’ she asks. ‘Tech, mostly,’ says V. ‘Good at breakin’ in and slippin’ inside places unnoticed. And I know how to shoot. Also done my share of smuggling.’ Rogue nods. ‘Useful skills. But what do you do when the shit hits the fan?’ V grins. ‘Blow somethin’ up and run like hell.’ Rogue surprises him by laughing. ‘Well, I like your style, kid. But if we’re gonna work together, I gotta see you in action.’ She nods to herself, thinking. ‘Okay. Gonna make some calls, find us a gig. You take point, I tag along. Let’s see what you’re good for.’ # Johnny’s on his third shot when V steps up to the bar next to him. ‘How’d it go?’ ‘Went well,’ says V. ‘She’s gonna try me out. Find a gig for us to do together so she can see me in action.’ Johnny relaxes a little. He hadn’t even realised he was tense. Rogue’s a professional. No way’ll she let V do anything he can’t handle. ‘Okay, good.’ He drains his glass and gestures at the bartender for another. V glances at the glasses on the counter. ‘Havin’ fun?’ Johnny shrugs. ‘Needed to take the edge off.’ V sits down on the bar stool next to him. ‘A lotta memories, huh?’ How is it V always knows when something’s bothering him? He’s usually so good at hiding it, but V’s never fooled. ‘Yeah,’ Johnny says, leaving it at that. The bartender passes him another shot and he downs it in one. V puts his mouth close to Johnny’s ear and whispers, ‘C’mon. Let’s go home.’ With V’s warm breath on the skin of his neck, that sounds like the best idea ever. Johnny puts his hand on V’s thigh, sliding it upward. ‘Fine,’ he murmurs. ‘Preem.’ V stands up. ‘I’m driving.’ ‘No, you’re not,’ says Johnny, wobbling a little as he stands. ‘Yes, I am. You just did four shots in like fifteen minutes. Either I drive or we walk.’ V holds out his hand. ‘Keys.’ Grumbling, Johnny reaches into his pocket and pulls out the keys, passing them to V, then follows him out of the club. V looks so small and helpless compared to everyone else in here. In his slightly drunken state, Johnny’s capable of admitting to himself that he’s worried about him. He knows V is stronger than he looks and that he has many talents. But the idea that he might get hurt gives Johnny a sick, ugly feeling in his stomach. He’d rather not examine too closely why that is. He stares out the window as V drives them back to Japantown. The sky is dark, the city lit up in colourful neon. Johnny starts sobering up a little on the way and his mind starts to wander. First to Rogue, how he fucked that up . . . and then to Alt. Fucking Alt . . . why’d Spider have to mention her? Johnny’s managed to go quite some time without thinking about her in any meaningful way. Does that mean he’s given up? The thought hits him like a bucket of ice. Has he given up on Alt? He risked his life for her. And when he found out her consciousness was still alive, just trapped in the Net, he promised himself he’d free her. That seems so long ago now. He’s suddenly overcome with that feeling, the one he hates more than anything. The one he feels whenever he thinks of Texas, or Arizona, or Mexico . . . or Alt. It sits in the pit of his stomach like a heavy stone, weighing him down, and he wants more than anything not to feel it. They pull up to the hotel and V parks the car. He doesn’t speak, doesn’t ask Johnny what’s wrong. Johnny’s grateful for that. They stand in the elevator, shoulders brushing, but V doesn’t ask any questions or even touch him. Not until they’re back in the suite does he turn to Johnny and wordlessly kiss him, as if he knows exactly what Johnny needs. Maybe he does. Johnny kisses him back, wraps his arms around him and holds on until they’re both breathless. Johnny kisses V’s neck, puts his mouth close to his ear and whispers, ‘V . . . I . . . I need—’ He pauses, not even sure what he wants to say. His mind is full of noise, of images, of pain. He needs to relieve it, needs to forget. Needs to not think and not feel. ‘Fuck me,’ he murmurs. V pulls back, looking into his eyes for a long moment, like he’s studying him. ‘You sure?’ he asks finally. Johnny swallows, then nods. ‘Yeah.’ V doesn’t smile. His usual playfulness has been replaced with something else; something intense. A smouldering, fierce sense of purpose. ‘Okay. Go wash up.’ Johnny goes to the bathroom, showers quickly, taking care to get himself clean. He knows how this goes, after all. It’s not his first rodeo, even if it’s been years. He keeps his focus on that; ignores those other thoughts and feelings, normally precariously held in place by cobwebs and duct tape. When he’s satisfied he’s clean, he leaves the bathroom naked. He’s wholly unprepared for the sight that greets him. V is sitting on the bed, strap-on in place. It uses the same harness as the prosthetic he wears normally. It’s not huge, for which Johnny’s grateful, given where it’s going, but it looks fairly realistic. V looks beyond hot with his naked chest and strong, muscular thighs on display, that smouldering look still in place. On the nightstand sits a large bottle of lube. They’ve not needed it so far, as V gets plenty wet enough from even the slightest stimuli, but they will tonight. ‘Come here,’ says V, beckoning him over and standing up. Johnny does as he’s told, following V’s lead. V draws him in, kisses him on the lips, shoving his tongue roughly into his mouth. He’s controlling the kiss, holding Johnny’s face in both hands, and Johnny lets himself be swept up in it. V breaks the kiss, his hazel eyes staring into Johnny’s. ‘On your knees,’ he says at last. Johnny obeys, looking up at V, who presents him with the silicone cock. ‘Suck it,’ he says. Johnny blinks. ‘But . . . you can’t even feel it. Why?’ ‘Because I told you to,’ says V calmly. Who is this man? Has he been hiding inside that friendly, laid-back kid from the Badlands all along? Suddenly, everything from his posture to his tone of voice oozes dominance and authority. Johnny shuts his eyes, takes a deep breath, and opens his mouth. V slides the strap-on in between his lips. Johnny takes it in as far as he can get it, sucking and bobbing his head. It’s been a very long time since he’s sucked a dick, though of course, this one isn’t real, so he’s not sure if it counts. The taste is clinical, just silicone, but the further in he takes it, the more he can smell V’s arousal. He’d love to lick his cunt, but that doesn’t seem to be part of V’s plan. He glances up at V, who runs his fingers through Johnny’s hair, tightening his fist and pulling just a little bit. Johnny’s thrown back to the first time they fucked, in V’s tent back in the Aldecaldo camp, their situations reversed as V went down on him with boundless enthusiasm. The memory of V’s mouth and hands and the sounds he made makes Johnny hot, his cock twitching between his legs. Soon, V pulls out of his mouth. ‘Get on the bed,’ he orders. ‘On your stomach.’ Once again, Johnny does what he’s asked, helplessly following V’s commands like a dog. He lies down nervously, pillowing his head on his arms. He feels V get up on the bed behind him. V’s hands run up his thighs to his ass, spreading his cheeks. Johnny shuts his eyes, breathing harder. ‘Look at this gorgeous ass,’ V murmurs, and then something warm and wet prods at Johnny’s hole. He arches his back, groaning as V starts eating him out. Johnny’s cock is fully hard now, rubbing against the sheets as he moves, pushing back on V’s hot tongue. It makes his hole twitch and sends shivers up his spine, and Johnny moans out loud. At this, Johnny’s a virgin. No one’s ever eaten his ass before. Behind him, V hums appreciatively, as if it’s the most delicious meal he’s ever had. When V quits his ministrations, it’s both too soon and not soon enough. His tongue felt amazing, but Johnny wants to get fucked, and V knows it. He reaches for the lube, but before applying it, he lies down on top of Johnny, pressing him down into the mattress and kissing the back of his neck. He bites down, not very hard but hard enough, and Johnny groans at the delicious sting of it. He cranes his neck, trying to look behind him, and V meets him halfway, kissing him. Johnny’s already too far gone to care that the tongue he’s now sucking on was just inside his ass. It doesn’t matter. None of it matters. V pours lube down Johnny’s crack. It feels a little cold. He rubs his fingers against Johnny’s hole, gently prodding with blunt fingertips. He takes his time, slowly coaxing him open with one finger at a time. This sends him back to that first time too, when he let V finger his ass while he sucked him off. There aren’t a lot of people Johnny would trust enough to let them near his ass, even with just a finger, but he let V do it on his first try. What does that say about him? Or about V? All thought is driven from his head as V finds his prostate, pressing down on it with his fingertips. Johnny sees stars. ‘Fuck!’ he grits out. ‘That’s it,’ says V softly. He leans down over Johnny, running his free hand up and down his side and pressing his lips to the back of his shoulder. ‘Open up for me. Lemme take care of you.’ Johnny gasps. The feeling is so intense, burning heat pooling in his groin. He grinds down into the mattress, both hands fisted in the sheets. ‘Ah . . . oh, god!’ His hips are moving of their own accord, until he’s fucking himself on V’s fingers. Johnny’s breath comes in short, sharp bursts, every other exhale a soft moan or whimper. He forgets to feel embarrassed. Forgets to feel anything but this. V is relentless. He keeps rubbing that spot with his fingers as Johnny’s entire body begins to tremble, and he doesn’t let up. ‘Oh, I can feel it,’ V says. ‘You’re getting close, aren’t you, Johnny?’ Johnny just about manages to nod into the pillow, letting out a shaky, ‘Yeah . . .’ The word comes out almost like a whimper. ‘Mm, good. You gonna come on my fingers, hm?’ Johnny groans. ‘I . . .’ He feels like he’s on fire. The friction of the bedsheet against his cock isn’t enough to make him ejaculate, but something else is happening. Johnny’s thighs quiver. Heat is spreading from his ass through his entire being, and he cries out as pleasure takes him, carrying him away. Words cease to have meaning. Around him, the world slips away, the bedroom with its pretty crane tapestries plunged into darkness until only this remains; the bed under him and V over him, one hand on the nape of his neck, holding him still. All he hears is the sound of his own breathing, of blood rushing in his ears. He shuts his eyes and lets it happen, lets it take him until he feels like he’s falling apart, whimpering and almost sobbing into the pillow. ‘There you go, that’s it,’ V coaxes. Slowly, he pulls his fingers out, leaving Johnny feeling strangely empty. It takes a while for his body to stop shaking. Meanwhile, V lies down next to him, stroking his back and his hair. When Johnny finally manages to breathe normally, he turns his head, meeting V’s eye, and V kisses him gently. Johnny’s cock is still hard and aching under him. ‘Need anything?’ V asks softly. ‘Or should I just continue?’ ‘Just—’ Johnny clears his throat, his voice hoarse. ‘Go on,’ he manages. V flashes him a wicked grin. ‘As you wish.’ He sits up, reaching for the lube again and slicking up the strap-on. He gets on top of Johnny and pushes the tip against his hole. While not huge, it’s still bigger than V’s fingers, and Johnny groans as it breaches his ass. ‘Fuck . . .’ Johnny draws a deep breath and holds it. ‘Relax,’ says V softly. ‘That’s it, Johnny. You can take it.’ Johnny almost whimpers. ‘I . . . I can’t—!’ ‘Shh.’ V leans down and softly kisses the nape of his neck. ‘You can. You’re so good, Johnny. You can take all of it.’ And with that, he slides in and bottoms out. Trying to ignore how good that praise makes him feel, Johnny lets out a long, drawn-out, ‘Fuuuuck!’ His eyes are squeezed tight, his hands clenched into fists. It burns. V stays still for a little bit, letting him adjust. ‘You good?’ he asks. Johnny nods, mustering up the ability to speak. ‘Yeah, I’m . . . keep goin’.’ V begins to move his hips. He holds Johnny down by his wrist as he fucks him, deep and hard, drawing pants and groans from Johnny’s lips. ‘Fuck, this is when I wish I had a real dick,’ he says breathlessly. ‘So I could feel your tight ass around it. But I’ll have to make do . . .’ He pulls almost all the way out and then slams back in, and Johnny cries out. Johnny Silverhand isn’t good at letting go. He likes being in charge. Needs to be, because he learned at a young age that, in the end, all he has is himself. Relying on others is a weakness. Trust is a flaw. Surrender is unacceptable. But now, here, in this moment, Johnny surrenders. He lets V take him apart until he’s the only thing in the universe, losing himself in the intensity of V’s attentions. For one long, blissful moment while V fucks him, Johnny forgets all the reasons why he shouldn’t trust and shouldn’t surrender. With V pounding his ass, Johnny can just be. He’s shaking again, his heart racing. His hair sticks to his sweaty forehead, and he’s utterly incapable of staying silent. V grabs his shoulders, pulling him up so he’s kneeling on the bed. Holding Johnny up with an arm around his chest, he grabs Johnny’s cock with his other hand and begins to stroke. ‘Come for me, Johnny,’ he whispers. ‘Be good and come for me.’ It happens humiliatingly quickly. Johnny’s so over-stimulated, riding so high it only takes about thirty seconds from V wraps his fingers around his cock until Johnny shoots all over his hand and the bedsheets underneath them. His orgasm, in contrast to the rest of the experience, is silent. Johnny holds his breath, releasing it in a short, hard exhale as he comes. ‘Fuck, yeah,’ V murmurs against his skin, kissing the back of his neck. ‘That’s it, Johnny.’ He lowers Johnny back down onto the bed, and Johnny’s shaking knees give out as he collapses. He grimaces when he feels the cooling puddle of cum on the sheets beneath his stomach. He’s still panting, his heart still racing. Getting off him, V removes the harness and lies down next to him, stroking his back soothingly. He brushes the hair away from Johnny’s neck and peppers it with kisses. ‘You did great,’ he whispers. Johnny’s beginning to come back to himself, grounded by V’s touch and his soothing voice. ‘Fuck, V,’ he mumbles. ‘The fuck you do to me?’ V laughs softly in his ear. ‘Well, let’s see . . . I ate you out and then made you come twice, first on my fingers and then on my cock.’ ‘Your strap-on,’ Johnny corrects him. ‘Yeah, well, we make do with the equipment we’ve got,’ says V, frowning a little. ‘Sorry, that . . . that came out wrong.’ Johnny sighs, feeling boneless and relaxed. ‘I needed that.’ It feels weird—unsettling, even—to admit that he needs something from another person like this, but that makes it no less true. ‘I know,’ V replies. With a hand on the back of his neck, he coaxes Johnny to turn his head so they can see each other’s eyes, then kisses him softly on the lips. ‘Happy to oblige.’ He sits up again. ‘Gonna get us some water.’
  11. Breaks my heart, hearing stories like that. I know a lot of people still have those experiences, but I realise how lucky I am to have grown up in a time and a place where exploring one's sexuality was less taboo, even if I've experienced some prejudice too.
  12. I mean... I did. I used to identify as bi, but I've lost nearly all sexual interest in women. Can still experience romantic feelings toward them, but no sexual attraction unless there's an emotional component involved. Sexuality can be fluid. It can change over time. Whereas it's set in stone for some, for others it's not.
  13. It takes exactly three days, one hour, and eleven minutes from the moment when Johnny leaves his dressing room until Kerry calls. And it’s just like him to call in the middle of the night, having finally made up his mind while drunk. ‘Heeey, Johnny!’ he says, sounding a lot more chipper than the night of the gig. There’s a faint rumble in the background. Maybe a car engine. ‘How’s it hangin’?’ ‘Oh, y’know. Same old.’ Johnny isn’t one for smalltalk. He manages to stop himself from giving a snarky reply and is impressed with his own willpower. ‘What’s up?’ ‘How’s your output?’ Kerry’s tone turns icy now, but at least he doesn’t sound angry. Johnny rolls his eyes. ‘Still not my output,’ he says. ‘V’s fine.’ As it happens, they’re in bed at the moment, and he glances at the man in question. V is lying on his stomach, head pillowed on his arms, looking sleepy and blissed out. For the past couple of evenings, they’ve been going out, mostly to small rock clubs to see unknown acts that Johnny’s heard about through the landlords of his various warehouse lofts. V’s been having a great time. But tonight, they decided to stay in, smoke a bowl and just fuck. ‘That Kerry?’ asks V sleepily. That last round seems to have taken a lot out of him. He smiles, giving a little wave. ‘Say hi from me!’ Johnny smirks. ‘He says hi,’ he tells Kerry, who only scoffs at this. ‘Anyway,’ he says, ‘I’ve been thinkin’. Dunno if it would even work.’ Johnny hears a car door slam, then footsteps on gravel. ‘I mean, we could prolly get Denny on board, and maybe Nancy—no, sorry, Bes—but Henry’s still recovering from his accident. Hard to be sure if he’ll ever play again.’ ‘Could start off slow,’ says Johnny, getting out of bed and heading for the bathroom. ‘Y’know, jam a little just the two of us, see if anythin’ comes of it. Silverhand and Eurodyne, right? Like—’ This draws a laugh out of Kerry. ‘Like Lennon and McCartney.’ ‘Exactly.’ Phone still to his ear, Johnny pisses into the toilet bowl. ‘We’ll need new songs anyway. We can sit down, jam a little, see if inspiration strikes. I, uh . . . actually came up with a riff last month that’s a lot more Samurai than just, y’know, me.’ He shakes off and flushes the toilet. ‘Sounds promising—’ Johnny can practically hear Kerry’s frown. ‘Did you just take a piss while we’re on the phone?’ Johnny laughs. ‘Kerry, I’ve taken a piss with you passed out in the bathtub. You gettin’ squeamish on me now? ‘No, no . . .’ Kerry sighs. ‘Anyway. It’s not the worst idea ever. Playin’ together again, I mean. I’m still mad at you, though, just so you know.’ ‘Yeah, well, arguing was always conducive to our songwriting.’ Johnny grins, returning to bed. V is dozing a little now but opens one eye like a cat when Johnny gets under the covers. The smile he gives Johnny is far too soft, but Johnny’s willing to overlook that on the basis of how tired V is and how frankly adorable he looks with his messy purple curls. ‘Go to sleep, ya gonk,’ Johnny murmurs. ‘What?’ says Kerry. ‘Nothin’. Talking to V. Seems I wore him out.’ Johnny can’t explain this recurring urge to ruin conversations by choosing to talk about shit that makes Kerry uncomfortable. Fortunately, Kerry seems to have developed a modicum of patience over the past six years. ‘Whatever,’ he grumbles. ‘We could meet up at my studio tomorrow. I’ll, uh . . . bring your guitar.’ ‘Nah,’ says Johnny, lying back and yawning. ‘You keep it. I got loads, and I’m so used to playin’ the one I brought with me on the road anyway.’ ‘Oh yeah? Which one’s that?’ ‘The DeLuze.’ ‘Good choice.’ Johnny yawns again. ‘Wore myself out too,’ he mutters. ‘Hey, just send me the coords for your studio and I’ll drop by. What time?’ ‘I dunno,’ says Kerry. ‘After two? Just text when you’re on your way or somethin’.’ ‘Will do. See you tomorrow, Ker.’ As Johnny hangs up, V stirs again, snuggling up to him. ‘Made plans?’ he mumbles, not bothering to open his eyes. ‘Yeah. Think you can entertain yourself for a few hours tomorrow?’ ‘Mhm . . .’ V nods. ‘I’ll explore some on my own.’ ‘Bring your iron,’ says Johnny. ‘City ain’t safe.’ ‘Yes, Mom,’ says V, patting Johnny’s chest. That’s the last thing he says before drifting off again. Johnny doesn’t want to wake him, so he lets him stay like that, snuggled up against Johnny’s side, head resting on his shoulder. # The following day around three, Johnny drives to Kerry’s studio, texting before he leaves the hotel. He thought it’d be in some fancy corporate building run by the label in the centre of the city, but instead, Kerry’s coordinates take him to a warehouse way out in Heywood, near the Industrial Zone. Johnny parks his car as safely as he can and finds the correct entrance, carrying his guitar case and the pedalboard he picked up from storage on the way over. The inside is nothing like the outside, done up nicely with hardwood floors and brightly painted walls. Kerry’s waiting for him on a couch in a corner, sitting with a guitar in his lap. ‘Good. You’re here,’ he says and stands up, heading upstairs and opening a thick double-layered door. Beyond it is a spacious room that seems to double as both recording studio and rehearsal space. There’s a full drum kit, several amps, even a grand piano in the corner. The room is built with odd angles to minimize sound reflections, the walls covered in wood panelling over what Johnny assumes to be multiple layers of sound insulation. The room is well-lit, with triple glazed skylights on the slanted ceiling. ‘Gotta admit, sweet setup,’ says Johnny, impressed in spite of himself. ‘Thanks.’ Kerry sets his guitar down next to an amplifier. ‘The building belongs to the label, but I had this studio built to my own specifications. Best rehearsal space I’ve ever had. And we record in here too.’ Johnny nods. ‘Preem.’ ‘Pick an amp,’ says Kerry, gesturing toward the multiple stacks. Since they’re all good amps and they’re just jamming today, Johnny picks at random and hooks up his pedalboard. Simple layout—just a fuzz pedal, a tuner, and an analogue tape delay. Living in the digital age is great, but Johnny’s always preferred analogue solutions when it comes to his guitars. He plugs everything in and tunes the Orphean before switching on the amp and cranking it up to eleven. He strums a G power chord, filling the room with distorted overtones. ‘So, what’s this riff you were talkin’ about?’ Kerry asks, shouting over the noise of Johnny’s guitar. Johnny grins at him, turning the volume down a notch. Then he plays the riff, starting in open D and going to open G, then back to D and via G sharp to D sharp. Kerry bobs his head along with the rhythm as Johnny plays, then picks up his own guitar and mimics the riff. When they’ve repeated it for a couple of rounds, Kerry nods. ‘You’re right. Does sound like a Samurai riff.’ He smiles at Johnny—that excited smile he always used to get when they worked like this in the past; the first genuine smile Johnny’s seen on his face since he got back. ‘Okay. Let’s jam.’ # Kerry was understandably concerned when Johnny told him he wanted to get Samurai back together. It’s been more than twelve years since the band split, even if he and Johnny toured together and sometimes did an old Samurai song as an encore. That was fun and worked pretty well, but they weren’t Samurai, and that wasn’t just because Denny, Nancy, and Henry weren’t with them. It was because they weren’t working the same way. They’d jam, show each other their respective tunes, give each other feedback and occasionally even suggest a chord or a line of lyrics. But when they were Samurai, Johnny and Kerry wrote the songs together. One of them might come up with a riff and the other some lyrics, but they always assembled the core of it together, just the two of them. Then they’d get together with the others and arrange it for the whole band. This . . . this is like that. The song they’re working on now, it’s their song. Johnny comes up with one riff, Kerry the next. They talk about what the vocals should be like—Johnny thinks it should be rapping and screaming without clean melodic vocals, and Kerry agrees. Actual lyrics can come later. After a couple of hours, they have the bare bones of the song recorded and saved for future reference. ‘Man, I need a smoke,’ Johnny says, putting down his guitar and running his fingers through his hair. ‘I need a cup of coffee,’ Kerry counters. ‘Capitan Caliente? Just a few blocks away from here.’ Johnny laughs. ‘Fuck, that place still exists?’ ‘Fucking institution, chombatta,’ says Kerry. ‘They ever try to close it, I’ll fucking buy it.’ ‘I’ll drive,’ says Johnny, getting up off the amp he’s been sitting on. As they step outside into an uncharacteristically clear afternoon, he pulls a cigarette out of his pocket and lights it, squinting at the sunlight. ‘So,’ he says, heading ’round the back of the building. ‘Think this can work?’ Kerry follows. He considers for a moment—it’s a big question. A lot of things could go wrong if they reboot Samurai. There are logistics involved, and neither he nor Johnny were ever particularly good at logistics; that’s what they had Nance for. Also, Kerry’s on contract for another solo album. But, fuck, he wants it to work. He’s missed playing with Johnny. He’s missed creating with him. Today, everything just flowed. Kerry hasn’t made music that easily since . . . well, since Samurai. Which isn’t to say he hasn’t written good songs—songs he enjoys playing, songs he loves—but it’s a different process, working alone. No one to bounce riffs off of, no one to tell him when something isn’t working so he doesn’t spend days on a bridge he’ll just end up scrapping. Plus . . . it’s Johnny asking. Kerry wishes that didn’t mean anything, but it really does. There was a time he would’ve done anything for Johnny, and part of him still would, even though he’s been gone for six years and has a brand-new nomad output who looks like he’s barely out of his teens. Is it too early for Johnny to be having a midlife crisis? ‘Ker?’ Johnny says, and Kerry looks up to see him unlocking the door to his Porsche. ‘Huh? Oh, wow, you still have this thing?’ he asks, motioning toward the car. ‘What, you thought I’d get rid of it? It’s been in storage for six years. But I asked you a question. Do you think this could work? A Samurai comeback?’ He opens the driver’s side door but doesn’t get in, shifting his weight back and forth between his feet where he stands. There’s something a little anxious about his posture and his facial expression—something most people wouldn’t notice, but Kerry’s known him for fifteen years. He realises that, to Johnny, a lot is riding on his answer. ‘Yeah,’ he says at last. ‘If we can sort out the logistics, maybe get a couple of the others on board . . . yeah. I think it could work.’ Johnny’s face splits into a grin that reminds Kerry of when they were seventeen and playing shitty gigs for crowds of fifty in dingy little rock clubs in this very part of town. The way Johnny would look every time they were about to go on stage, bouncing with nervous energy. Energy he put into performances that blew everyone away, while Kerry, who’d been playing actively for much longer than Johnny, could barely keep up. It’s good to know, somehow, that a little part of that kid still exists inside Johnny. ‘Okay!’ Johnny says, getting into the car. Kerry hurries around to the passenger side and gets in too. ‘Okay, I’ll . . . I’ll call Denny first, I guess.’ Kerry rolls his eyes. ‘I’ll call Denny and Nancy. They haven’t seen you in years, they’ll be just as pissed as I was. Better it comes from me. And I’ll talk to the label too, while I’m at it. Or, I guess, I’ll talk to my manager and she’ll talk to the label.’ ‘Hey, whatever works for you, Ker.’ Johnny puts his hand on Kerry’s shoulder, squeezing it, while he backs out of the parking space. ‘This is gonna be a hell of a ride, man. You’ll see.’ # Once Johnny’s left that evening, Kerry picks up the phone. He calls Denny first. ‘Hey, Kerry,’ she says. ‘Haven’t heard from you in a while. How’s things? Heard the latest tour went well.’ ‘Yeah, it was good. Had the final gig a few days ago. How are things with Mastermind?’ Denny clicks her tongue. ‘Eh . . . kinda on hiatus. That is to say, we’re supposed to be working on a new album, but not much is happening. Our frontman just had a baby and wants to spend some time takin’ care of his kid.’ ‘Admirable,’ says Kerry. ‘So, uh . . . that mean you got some free time on your hands?’ ‘I guess,’ she says. ‘What’s this about, Kerry?’ Kerry draws a deep breath. ‘Well . . . Johnny’s back in town.’ ‘What? Since when?’ ‘Few days ago, apparently. He came to my show. We . . . talked.’ ‘Meaning you yelled at each other for a few minutes until one of you stormed off in a huff.’ Kerry winces at the relative accuracy of that statement. ‘Not quite, but . . . yeah, it didn’t go very well. But, he said he wants to bring Samurai back together.’ ‘Really?’ There’s a pause. ‘And you told him to fuck off, right?’ ‘At first. But . . . then I decided to call him.’ ‘Kerry . . .’ Denny sighs. ‘You always do this to yourself. Follow his lead and fuck things up for yourself.’ He frowns. ‘That’s a little unfair. Following Johnny’s lead has done a lot of good for me, first off. And anyway . . . I figured, we could at least talk about it. So I invited him to my studio today. He just left. And . . . we wrote a song, Denny. Together. And it was . . . it feels like a Samurai song. Like it’s ours.’ ‘Kerry—’ she says again, but he cuts her off. ‘No, just hear me out. It’s a great song, Denny. I can feel it! And Johnny . . . there’s somethin’ different about him now. Maybe it’s being out of NC for so long, maybe he’s got some perspective, I don’t fuckin’ know. But . . . I think this could work. And we want you on board. You and Nance, if she can spare the time. We’ll need to find another bassist, but . . .’ There’s a stretch of silence. Samurai was all of them. They each brought their own style, their own flare to create the whole. But at its heart—its core—it was Johnny and Kerry’s baby. If the others have moved on, then . . . ‘Listen, we’re . . . prolly doin’ this regardless. But it won’t be the same without you and Nancy. I mean, Bes.’ He sighs. ‘Whatever . . . Point is, we’d like you with us. Please?’ Denny’s quiet for a moment longer before she finally replies, ‘I’ll think about it. Okay?’ ‘Yeah.’ Kerry smiles. ‘Yeah, okay. Just think about it. I’ma call Nance as well, see if she’s interested.’ ‘Okay. I’ll be in touch,’ says Denny, and they hang up. # For the following week, Johnny goes to Kerry’s studio every day. He spends his evenings with V, but by the seventh day, V is bored. Every day this week, he’s taken his bike out and gone riding around town. He’s avoided the south city, as Johnny’s informed him it’s very much Not Safe, but he’s been all around Japantown, Little China, City Center, Northside, Westhill and the Marinas. When he and Johnny go out in the evenings, he has a good time, but V was not made to sit on his hands—he needs to do something practical, or he’ll go stir crazy. ‘So, I been thinkin’,’ he says, as they’re sitting on the couch one evening, just back from dim sum over in Little China. He has his back against the armrest and his legs stretched out across Johnny’s lap. Johnny’s leaning back, arms behind his head, watching TV. ‘Oh? That’s new.’ V laughs and kicks his arm playfully with a bare foot. ‘Fuck off. But, seriously. I can’t keep spendin’ all my time either sittin’ here or followin’ you around pretending to be your groupie.’ Johnny frowns. ‘No one thinks you’re a groupie.’ ‘Kerry does.’ ‘Yeah, well, Kerry can go fuck himself.’ ‘Whatever. Point is, I need somethin’ to do while I’m here.’ ‘What, you wanna get a job? Retail? Bartending?’ Johnny snorts. ‘Why?’ ‘I was thinkin’ somethin’ a little more hands-on,’ V says, scratching his cheek. ‘You know everyone, right? Thought maybe you could hook me up with some merc work.’ Johnny stares at him for what feels like several minutes. Then he laughs. ‘You wanna be a solo?’ V folds his arms over his chest and cocks an eyebrow at Johnny. ‘What’s so funny about that?’ ‘V, you’re like five foot nothin’.’ ‘First of all, I am not!’ ‘Okay, five four.’ ‘Five seven! I’ll have you know, I was above average height for a girl. Besides, what’s that got to do with anythin’?’ ‘Point is, you’re tiny,’ Johnny says. ‘I could pick you up and throw you over my shoulder like that,’ he snaps his fingers. ‘I mean, I’m athletic enough, but I’m not that strong—not countin’, y’know, the arm.’ V laughs. ‘You couldn’t lift me that easy!’ ‘Is that a challenge?’ Johnny asks, raising an eyebrow. ‘Bring it, Silverhand!’ says V with a smirk. Johnny doesn’t hesitate. He gets up and picks V up off the couch, carries him in a fireman’s lift into the bedroom, and throws him face down onto the bed. V practically giggles. Johnny climbs up behind him, pinning him down, and starts kissing the back of his neck. It feels nice, and for a moment V just enjoys it, letting out a small moan as Johnny sucks on his pierced earlobe. Johnny’s getting hard; V can feel his dick digging into the back of his thigh. But then he comes to his senses. ‘Oh, no. You can’t distract me like this, Johnny.’ Johnny lets out a demonstrative sigh and gets off him, flopping onto his back and adjusting his junk through his leather pants as best he can. ‘Fine. You wanna get yourself zeroed by gangoons or corpo-soldiers, go right ahead. See if I care.’ V turns over on his side, propping himself up on his elbow, and smiles. ‘You’re worried about me.’ Johnny scoffs. ‘No!’ he says petulantly, refusing to meet V’s eye. V kisses him on the cheek. ‘You’re sweet. But seriously, I’m not helpless; I can hold my own in a fight. I’ve fought Raffen plenty of times. ’Sides, I got other skills. I’m small and sneaky, I can get into places, infiltrate. And you know I can shoot.’ Johnny gives him a sidelong glance. ‘So, what, assassinations? Doesn’t seem like your style, kid.’ V rolls his eyes. ‘I was more thinkin’ data retrieval, burglary, shit like that.’ Johnny sighs. ‘Well . . . I might be able to call in some favours. Got some contacts.’ V’s face splits into a grin. ‘Really? Got someone in mind?’ ‘Hmm. Maybe Rogue. Old friend.’ Johnny purses his lips. ‘If she’s still my friend.’ ‘You keep sayin’ that about every other person you mention. You got a talent for pissin’ people off, don’t you?’ Johnny scoffs. ‘Apparently. It’s a wonder you’ve stuck around this long. I’m not great at keeping friends.’ ‘Well, you’re lucky I don’t piss off so easily. So, this Rogue?’ ‘She’s a solo. A good one. Might be able to hook you up.’ He clicks his tongue. ‘Actually, prolly be better off droppin’ Santiago’s name than mine. They used to work together. How I met him, actually.’ ‘Huh.’ V nods slowly. ‘Guess that’s who he was talkin’ about, then.’ Johnny frowns at him. ‘Wait, you talked to Santiago about this before you talked to me?’ ‘Actually, he brought it up when I told him I was goin’ with you. Said you had mutual friends in the biz and that you could prolly hook me up if I needed work.’ ‘Fuck. If this gets you killed, I’ma murder that son-of-a-bitch,’ Johnny growls. V laughs again. ‘It’s cute how protective you are.’ Johnny turns over on his side and locks eyes with V, looking serious for once. ‘Well, I told you I’m not great at keepin’ friends. Not about to let one of the few I got go off and die.’ Then he grabs V by the back of the neck and draws him close. ‘Now, are we gonna fuck, or what?’ he murmurs against V’s lips before capturing them in a fierce kiss that leaves V dizzy with desire. ‘Definitely,’ V breathes and rolls on top of him.
  14. Thorn Wilde


    They were very successful for a while, and both Kerry and Johnny went on to have soaring solo careers. Thanks for commenting!
  15. Thorn Wilde


    Late November, 2005. Kerry stops by the music store almost every day after school. He’s been saving up for a new guitar, and every time he passes the display window there’s that little hint of anxiety that someone else will have bought the one he wants. So far, he’s been lucky. It’s not as if the store couldn’t just order another one, but Kerry wants this one. It’s second hand, a little bruised and battered, but the times Kerry’s tried it out, it’s just felt right in his hands. Body’s made of alder, strat-shaped with two singlecoils and a humbucker. Its most defining feature, and what drew Kerry to it in the first place, is the silver bombs embossed on the ebony fingerboard. But today, when he gets to the store, the guitar isn’t in the window display. Kerry’s heart sinks, and when he gets in he realises there’s a guy over in a corner, playing it. He’s skinny and pale, with torn clothes and greasy black hair that hangs in front of his eyes. But the most striking thing about his appearance is his left arm; it’s cybernetic, made of shiny, silver chrome. Kerry might have thought it’d be hard to play guitar with a metal left hand, but as he gets closer, he sees the stranger’s fingers dance across the frets. It’s clear from looking at him that the kid has no formal training—has probably never taken lessons—but he’s got feeling, and though his technique is unusual, he by far makes up for it with sheer tenacity. The boy seems to notice Kerry’s approach. He looks up, their eyes meeting, and Kerry stops in his tracks, swallowing. The other boy’s face looks gaunt and sunken, as if he hasn’t had a good meal in weeks, but those brown eyes are sharp, intelligent, intense. He stops playing. ‘What?’ he says bluntly. ‘Um . . .’ Kerry swallows. ‘Nothin’. I was just . . . you, uh, you play well.’ The kid shrugs and starts playing again. It’s not a riff Kerry recognises. He remains where he stands, watching and listening, the other boy paying him no mind for a long while. But then his head snaps up again. ‘Why are you staring at me?’ Kerry blanches. ‘Oh! I’m sorry . . . I didn’t mean to.’ He swallows again. ‘You, uh . . . you planning on buying that guitar?’ The boy looks at him for a long while, as if sizing him up. It’s a little unsettling. Then he finally says, ‘No. Don’t have that kinda scratch. I’m just . . . tryin’ it on.’ There’s a slight twang of something in his accent. Southern, maybe. ‘It suits you,’ says Kerry, because it’s true. That old guitar sits naturally in the boy’s grip, like it belongs there. Kerry would be jealous if the kid hadn’t already told him he couldn’t afford to buy it. ‘I’m Kerry.’ ‘I’m R—’ The boy frowns. ‘Johnny. I’m Johnny.’ He glances at Kerry. ‘You play?’ ‘Yeah. Took lessons for years.’ Kerry sits down on a nearby amp. ‘Been, uh . . . been saving up for that guitar you’re holding. Don’t quite have the scratch yet, but . . . once I do . . .’ ‘Well, don’t worry,’ says the boy Johnny with a shrug. ‘It would take me about a million years to come up with the eddies to pay for something like this. Your axe is safe.’ Kerry finds himself smiling. ‘Looks better on you than me. You got an instrument of your own?’ Johnny shakes his head. ‘Nah. Not anymore.’ ‘Oh.’ Kerry watches him for a while longer. Then, ‘How old are you?’ ‘What’s with the interrogation?’ Johnny asks. ‘You tryna fuck me or somethin’? ’Cause I don’t do that shit for free.’ Kerry stares. ‘What? No!’ he says. ‘God, no . . . I didn’t . . .’ The implication of what Johnny just said starts to sink in, however. ‘What do you mean, not for free?’ Johnny scoffs and stands up without another word. He carries the guitar over to the shop attendant and hands it to him, nodding his thanks, then heads for the door, hands in his pockets. Kerry rushes after, not even sure why. ‘Wait!’ He follows the boy outside. Johnny’s pulled on a jacket that’s way too thin, reaching into the pocket to get out a pack of cigarettes and a zippo. He lights one up, taking a deep drag. ‘What do you want?’ he says tonelessly. Kerry stops to consider. What does he want? ‘I dunno,’ he says lamely. ‘Just . . . to talk, I guess? I, uh . . . really liked your playing. You’re good. You ever take lessons?’ ‘Nope,’ says Johnny, popping the ‘p’ before taking another drag off the cigarette. ‘Used to play my brother’s guitar.’ ‘Well, you’re good,’ Kerry repeats. Johnny just shrugs. He starts walking away, and since Kerry’s all out of things to say, he doesn’t follow. # Two weeks later, Kerry’s saved up enough to buy the guitar. He goes after school, finding it in the display as usual. He walks in with a nervous bounce in his step, going up to the counter and laying down his eddies—the scratch he earned from his job last summer and the odd part-time shift since. The clerk smiles at him. ‘Finally buyin’ it, huh?’ ‘Yeah.’ Kerry grins. ‘Finally!’ He takes it home and spends all evening on his bed playing it, until his parents force him to kill the amp so people can sleep. Even then, he keeps strumming silently. Somehow, though, he can’t seem to make it sound as good as that other guy did. It’s mid-December when Kerry walks past the music store on his way home and sees Johnny loitering outside, looking through the window at the spot in the display where the guitar used to be. He looks much the same as the last time Kerry saw him. Same torn clothes, same thin jacket that looks like it’s out of an army surplus sale. His hair is longer, though, and he looks, if possible, even skinnier. ‘Hey,’ says Kerry, stepping up next to him. ‘Johnny, right?’ Johnny glances at him, then looks back at the window display. ‘Yeah. Don’t remember your name.’ ‘Kerry,’ says Kerry. ‘You buy the guitar?’ Johnny asks. ‘Yeah. Not too long ago. You, uh . . .’ Kerry hesitates. He’s been thinking about this ever since the first time they met, but suddenly it’s hard to say. Still, what does he have to lose? ‘Listen, I got half a plan for a band project with some other kids from school. Could use another guitar player.’ Johnny gives him a sidelong glance, one eyebrow raised. ‘You don’t even know me.’ ‘No. But I want to.’ Johnny snorts. ‘Why?’ ‘I dunno. Why does anyone want to know anyone?’ Kerry runs his fingers through his hair, feeling frustrated. ‘You play well. And you seem . . .’ ‘What do I seem?’ Johnny asks, still glancing at Kerry. ‘I dunno. Like a cool person, I guess.’ Kerry wets his lips. ‘Wanna jam?’ ‘Where?’ ‘At my place. It’s not far. And . . .’ Kerry takes in Johnny’s skinny frame. ‘You could stay for dinner, if you want. My folks wouldn’t mind.’ Johnny works his jaw, frowning. Finally, he says, ‘Okay.’ They head off down the street. ‘You live around here?’ Kerry asks. Johnny just shrugs. ‘You don’t go to my school.’ ‘I don’t go to school,’ says Johnny. ‘You graduate?’ ‘Nah. Haven’t gone to school in . . . three years? Four?’ ‘How old are you?’ Kerry asks once again. ‘Seventeen,’ says Johnny. ‘You?’ ‘Same. So, if you don’t go to school, what do you do?’ Johnny looks away, wrapping his arms around himself as he walks. ‘What I have to,’ he mumbles. Shit. Afraid to overstep and scare Johnny away, Kerry doesn’t ask any more questions. To say that Kerry’s mother is surprised when her son drags home a teenager who clearly hasn’t showered in days, if not weeks, would be an understatement. Now they’re indoors, Kerry realises Johnny smells decidedly earthy. But she takes it in stride, lets them go to Kerry’s room. Once there, Kerry passes Johnny the guitar he bought. ‘Have at it,’ he says, smiling. ‘Thanks.’ Johnny sits down and strums the guitar, then gets to tuning it. Kerry watches. ‘Hey,’ he says after a little while, ‘are you alone?’ ‘Well, right now I’m here with you,’ says Johnny. ‘I meant . . . d’you have a family? Does anyone . . . I mean, where do you live?’ Johnny shakes his head, refusing to meet Kerry’s eye. ‘There’s no one. And nowhere. There’s a shelter not far from here I stay at sometimes, when there’s room.’ ‘You’re homeless?’ Kerry phrases it as a question, but some part of him already knew this to be the case. Johnny just shrugs. ‘You can use our shower if you want,’ says Kerry. Johnny looks up at him. ‘Sorry. Guess I smell.’ Kerry shrugs. Not wanting to make Johnny too uncomfortable, he says, ‘Nah. It’s not so bad. But I just thought you might like to. You, uh . . . you could borrow some clean clothes too, if you want. Most of what I got should fit you.’ Johnny’s eyes narrow as he stares at him. ‘What do you want in return?’ Kerry shakes his head. ‘Nothing. Just, to jam, long as you’re interested in that.’ He gets the feeling Johnny hasn’t experienced a lot of kindness for kindness’ sake. Kerry feels an urge he can’t quite explain to himself to remedy that. Johnny puts down the guitar. ‘Okay. I’ll . . . I’ll take that shower.’ When he returns to Kerry’s room, clean and dressed in a pair of sweatpants and an old David Bowie t-shirt Kerry had in his closet, he looks like a completely different person. He’s lanky and skinny, clearly in desperate need of more than a few good meals, but with his hair washed and in clothes that aren’t dirty and torn, Johnny is incredibly handsome. Kerry finds himself staring. ‘What?’ says Johnny. ‘Is there somethin’ on my face?’ Kerry shakes his head. ‘No. You, uh . . . you look different.’ ‘Different?’ ‘You look good,’ Kerry amends. ‘I, uh, I made us some sandwiches. Dad’s working late so dinner’ll be a while.’ ‘It just you and your parents?’ Johnny asks, sitting down on the bed and accepting the sandwich Kerry offers. ‘Yeah. My brother . . .’ Kerry swallows. ‘He, uh, he died. In Panama.’ Johnny blinks. ‘He fought?’ he asks between bites. ‘In the war?’ Kerry nods. ‘Yeah. You . . . you knew someone who fought too?’ Johnny swallows a bite of sandwich and shows Kerry his metal arm. ‘Yeah. Me.’ Kerry frowns. ‘You were—how old were you?’ ‘Fifteen when I shipped out,’ says Johnny. ‘That’s—’ Kerry cuts himself off, not sure what he meant to say. ‘That’s fucked up, man. I’m sorry.’ Johnny shrugs. ‘Enlisted of my own free will. Got no one to blame but myself.’ He looks away, clearly uncomfortable, and Kerry decides to drop it. He picks up his old guitar—a telecaster that’s served him well; it’s black with an ash body, rosewood fretboard, and two singlecoil pickups—and looks at Johnny. ‘Let’s jam.’ ‘Sure.’ Johnny picks up Kerry’s new guitar again. It really does look good on him. Sounds good too, when he starts to play. Kerry has the sudden urge to just give it to him. Let this boy he barely knows have the guitar he spent months saving up for. That’s ridiculous, and he gets the distinct impression that Johnny would never accept—that he’s too proud. Some food, a shower, and the use of some clean clothes, that’s one thing. But he’d never let Kerry just give him a guitar. Not yet, anyway. They play until dinner time. Whereas he wolfed down the sandwich, Johnny takes smaller bites at dinner, clearly trying to pace himself. He accepts seconds. He’s not very talkative, and when Kerry’s dad asks him who his folks are, Johnny just mumbles something about Texas and leaves it at that. After dinner, Kerry helps his mom clear the dishes. In the kitchen, he turns to her and says, ‘Can Johnny stay the night?’ She frowns at him. ‘It’s a school night.’ ‘Yeah, but . . .’ Kerry hesitates. ‘Mom, he’s got nowhere to go. I dunno what happened to his family, but . . . he’s alone. I wanna help him.’ ‘Kerry, honey.’ She pats his cheek, smiling sadly at him. ‘He’s not some puppy you can just bring home with you and keep.’ ‘I know that,’ says Kerry. ‘But, Mom . . . he’s got no one.’ His mother sighs. ‘I’ll talk to your father. If he agrees, I . . . guess he can stay in the spare room, just for tonight.’ Kerry smiles, even as his chest aches. The spare room—his brother William’s old room. ‘Thanks, Mom. Really.’ # It’s hard to sleep, knowing that Johnny’s in the other room. Thinking about him makes Kerry more than a little hot and bothered, and he’s seriously considering just jerking off when the door to his room slowly opens and someone tip-toes inside. Making sure he’s covered up, he squints at the figure framed in the light from the landing. ‘Johnny?’ he says. Johnny shuts the door. ‘Yeah.’ ‘You okay?’ In the darkness, Johnny sits down at the edge of the bed. He’s quiet for a few moments and doesn’t look at Kerry. ‘I’ll suck your dick if you want,’ he says at last. ‘What?’ Kerry stares at the figure before him. His face is obscured by darkness and dark hair, and Kerry reaches out and turns on the bedside light. He immediately notices that Johnny is bare-chested, can see the clear outline of his ribs. His skin is scarred around the left shoulder, where skin meets chrome. Johnny blinks as the light blinds him momentarily. ‘Why would you—?’ Kerry begins. Shrugging, Johnny says, ‘I dunno. Figure I owe you one.’ It’s tempting. It’s really fucking tempting. Johnny’s perched on the edge of Kerry’s bed in nothing but his underwear. He’s beyond hot. Kerry thinks Johnny may be the most gorgeous boy he’s ever met. He’s already worked up, already hard for him. But . . . ‘Johnny, I don’t want you to do that ’cause you feel you owe me,’ he says softly, voice almost breaking. He clears his throat, feeling like he’s betraying his body. This hot guy just offered to suck his dick and Kerry’s saying no? ‘I mean, if you . . .’ If you like me, he wants to say, but he’s not sure he should. ‘If you actually want to, that’d be different, but . . . you don’t owe me anything. Okay?’ Johnny looks away, working his jaw, and finally nods. Kerry scoots closer to the wall, pulling back the covers. ‘You wanna sleep here?’ Johnny meets his eye, frowning. ‘That’s so gay,’ he says. Kerry raises an eyebrow. ‘You just offered to suck me off, and you think this is gay?’ He shrugs. ‘’S up to you. I just thought maybe, since you came here . . .’ He hesitates. ‘Figured maybe you didn’t wanna sleep alone.’ There’s stillness for several long seconds. Then, wordlessly, Johnny gets into Kerry’s bed. He faces away from him, and Kerry fights the urge to put his arm around his waist and press up against his back. He wants to comfort Johnny, and he wants to feel his skin. But he doesn’t want Johnny to know how hard he is, and he’s not sure comfort would be welcome. Instead, he turns off the light and closes his eyes. Somehow, he manages not to touch Johnny, though he lies awake for a long time, heart pounding and balls aching, breathing in Johnny’s scent. The last thing he remembers before sleep finally takes him is the sound of Johnny’s soft breathing. # ‘Just for tonight’ turns into a week. After that, Kerry introduces Johnny to their potential bandmates, and Johnny ends up couch surfing, staying with one or another of them a couple of nights at a time. More often than not when he stays at Kerry’s, they share a bed. Even though it’s just a twin and they always wake up tangled in each other’s limbs, nothing ever happens between them, to Kerry’s disappointment. When they find a rehearsal space, Johnny sleeps there sometimes. Like some kind of stray cat, he starts occasionally bringing gifts of food or booze when they all meet, or he contributes with guitar strings and other music miscellanea. Where he gets the money to pay for these things, he never says, and Kerry doesn’t ask. The two of them are sitting outside on the front steps to Kerry’s house one chilly night, passing a cigarette back and forth and looking up at a sky too heavily light-polluted to see the stars, when Johnny suddenly says, ‘My name was Robert. Before. John was my middle name. My family, back in Texas, they called me Robbie.’ ‘Robbie,’ Kerry repeats, and out of the corner of his eye, he sees Johnny grimace. ‘Robbie’s dead, though,’ says Johnny. His voice is flat and his face betrays no emotion. ‘He died in Mexico. He died when I realised how fucking pointless and corrupt the whole war, the whole system is.’ He grips the dog tags around his neck in his right hand, clenching his fist around them until his knuckles turn white. Kerry thinks this may be the most he’s ever heard Johnny say about himself in one go. ‘So, I’m Johnny now. I think I was Johnny from the moment I got my arm blown off. The moment I got this.’ He holds his cybernetic arm up above him, palm facing the sky and fingers splayed against the blueish black of the night. The chrome glints in the porch light and street lamps. ‘This arm. This is me.’ Johnny lowers his arm again, and there’s silence for a while. He takes a drag off the cigarette, the tip glowing red, and passes it to Kerry again. It’s nearly down to the filter, so Kerry finishes it, putting it out beneath the sole of his boot. ‘Well,’ he says, ‘for what it’s worth . . . that arm—that hand . . . it’s made some pretty awesome stuff in the past few weeks.’ He glances at Johnny. ‘Way you play, man . . . It’s,’ he searches for the right word and in the end settles on, ‘beautiful.’ Johnny scoffs and turns his face away. ‘Bullshit,’ he mutters, but there’s a hint of pink in the cheek Kerry can still see, betraying some emotion. Maybe he’s flattered. # Mid-February, 2006 It’s a small club—a dingy little dive near the edge of town. There are maybe fifty people in the audience, plus a handful of drunks at the bar. They’re all talking, drinking, none of them looking at the stage as the band walks on. Kerry steps up to the microphone. His hand shakes as he grabs it and he licks his dry lips. ‘Uh, hey. We’re Samurai,’ he says. A couple of people glance up at them in mild interest. Kerry swallows. Then Johnny steps up behind him, slapping his shoulder with his metal hand. He’s grinning. Putting his mouth near Kerry’s ear, he murmurs, ‘Relax, choomba. We’ll make ’em listen.’ His voice sends a shiver down Kerry’s spine. Johnny turns to Denny. ‘Hit it!’ he says, and she does. With the opening riff, a few people turn to look. With the hard, rapid-fire punk beat, more of them do. Some of Kerry’s nervousness shakes loose just a little. Pushing everything else away, ignoring his pounding heart, he takes the mic, singing the first verse. When Johnny’s set to join in, instead of grabbing his own microphone like he did at soundcheck, he puts his face right next to Kerry’s, screaming into the same mic, their breath mixing. ‘Suit up, punch in, punch out, non-stop!’ they shout. ‘Suit up, punch in, punch out, GET FUCKED!!!’ As he starts on the next riff, Johnny licks Kerry’s cheek, grinning at him, and starts jumping around on stage. He’s a fucking natural. Brilliant and insane. Kerry’s in awe. And Johnny’s energy is infectious; it’s easy, suddenly, for Kerry to do the same—jump around, shredding on his tele. They meet at the microphone, screaming themselves hoarse, then practically grind on each other while they solo. When the song is over, the audience goes wild. Johnny’s face is sweaty, his hair sticking to his forehead. With a mad grin, he slings his arm over Kerry’s shoulder and yells into the mic, ‘Hey, we’re Samurai!’ The audience cheers. ‘You motherfuckers want some more?’ A roaring chorus of, ‘Yeah!’ rises from the assembled crowd, in stark contrast to their apparent disinterest before the song started. How can fifty people be this loud? ‘Preem! ’Cause we got more! Right, Ker?’ He turns to look at Kerry, grin still in place. The grin is contagious, spreading to Kerry who, still riding the high, shouts, ‘Fuck, yeah! This is Blistering Love!’ And they go straight into the new song they finished just last week. When they’ve finished their set, they don’t have any songs left for the encore, so they do a repeat of Cyber Sexcapades before finally leaving the stage. The club doesn’t have a real backstage area, so they’re immediately assaulted by several audience members who congratulate them and want to take their pictures. ‘Who writes your songs?’ one of them, a young man in his early twenties, asks Kerry and Johnny. ‘We write ’em all together,’ says Johnny. ‘Kerry and me.’ Kerry nods in confirmation. ‘Whoa! Really? Regular Lennon and McCartney here. And this was your first gig?’ ‘Yeah,’ says Kerry. He can’t keep the grin off his face. He feels dizzy, disoriented, euphoric. He feels everything right now but finds he has little recollection of the gig itself. ‘Wow. Just think. One day, I’ll be able to tell my grandkids I was at Samurai’s first ever concert. Keep rockin’, guys!’ He shakes both their hands and walks off. ‘Hear that, Ker?’ Johnny drapes his arm over Kerry’s shoulder again. ‘We killed it. We’re gonna be huge!’ He lets go, unstrapping the guitar. He looks down at it, weighing it in his hands. ‘Few more gigs,’ he says, ‘if we can get some hype goin’, I’ll be able to afford my own.’ Kerry smiles. ‘What’s wrong with this one?’ ‘Uh, it’s not mine?’ says Johnny, eyebrow raised in question. ‘Yes, it is,’ Kerry says softly. His cheeks feel warm. Johnny frowns. ‘Huh?’ Kerry shrugs. He puts the tele back in its case. ‘It was always s’posed to be yours,’ he says. ‘That axe . . . it’s like it chose you.’ He looks up to find Johnny staring at him, still gripping the guitar in his hands. With its chipped black varnish and dents in the wood, it’s oddly reminiscent of the young man holding it. A little broken, a little battered, but perfectly imperfectly beautiful. The thought makes him blush and he looks away again. ‘I’ll pay you back,’ says Johnny quietly. ‘Pay me back by bein’ great,’ says Kerry. ‘Make this band awesome.’ ‘Okay.’ Johnny touches Kerry’s shoulder lightly with his metal hand as he walks past. ‘I will.’ Kerry swallows. The place where Johnny touched him feels like it’s burning. His face feels hot too. Making sure he’s facing away from the crowd, he adjusts himself through his jeans. It’s the adrenaline rush, he tells himself. That’s probably a thing that can make you horny. Besides, he’s seventeen; looking at a wall can make him horny. He finishes putting away his guitar. On stage, Nancy, Denny and Henry have started packing down the backline with the sound guy, and Kerry goes to help, trying to keep his mind off Johnny. The boy in question joins them a moment later, having gone to the bar for a shot of tequila first. Once the stage is cleared, they all sit down in a booth. Johnny gets them the first round of shots. They drink at a discount. After a little while, the sound tech comes over to pass them their share of the door money. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than they had expected. Nancy takes care of it; she’s better at the money stuff than the rest of them. Johnny leans back in the booth next to Kerry, laying his head on Kerry’s shoulder and yawning. ‘Fuck, I think I’m comin’ down from that stage high,’ he says. ‘Yeah, same,’ says Henry. ‘If we’re rockers now, where’s the blow?’ ‘And the hookers,’ Denny adds with a laugh. ‘Oh, we’ll be drowning in dope and groupies ’fore the year’s out,’ says Johnny confidently. ‘We’ll have to fight ’em off with sticks. Meantime . . .’ he shrugs, ‘guess we’ll just have to make our own fun.’ Nancy laughs. ‘What, orgy time? Johnny, you’re drunk.’ ‘What, that gig didn’t make any of you horny?’ Johnny laughs. ‘Hell of a rush.’ Oh, good. So it’s not just Kerry. Nancy shakes her head. ‘No, I’m good.’ She stands up. ‘Anyway, I gotta get home.’ ‘Yeah, me too,’ says Denny with a sigh. Henry stands up. ‘I’ll take you, Denny.’ Johnny looks on in amusement as Henry tries to convince Denny to let him drive her home. She flat out refuses on the basis that he’s drunk, and eventually they seem to come to a compromise of riding the metro together. ‘When are those two gonna fuck?’ Johnny says as the others leave the club. Kerry shrugs. ‘Prolly eventually.’ He glances at Johnny. ‘You into Denny? Or Nance?’ ‘Nah.’ Johnny picks up his beer and takes a sip. ‘I mean, they’re both hot—I’d do ’em, but . . . not really my type.’ ‘What is your type?’ asks Kerry, also taking a drink and hoping he sounds nonchalant. ‘Uncomplicated.’ Kerry can feel Johnny’s eyes on him. ‘You were hopin’ I’d say you.’ ‘No,’ says Kerry, a little too quickly. Then, ‘I mean . . . guess I’ve thought about it.’ ‘’Course you have.’ ‘You haven’t?’ ‘Didn’t say that.’ Johnny drains his beer. ‘Need a smoke.’ Kerry tries very hard not to think about the implications of that statement too closely. ‘I’ll join ya. Prolly should get home anyway. Mom’ll worry.’ They both grab their guitars and head out into the cool night air; a nice change from the stuffy club. Johnny lights a cigarette, offering one to Kerry, who accepts. Truth is, he mostly only smokes when he’s with Johnny. ‘Wanna stay over at my place?’ Kerry asks, lighting his cigarette and filling his lungs. He feels it burn going down. ‘Sure.’ The club is local, so they walk. They don’t say much. When they get to home, the place is dark, his parents already in bed. They tiptoe upstairs to Kerry’s room, undress down to their underwear, and get into bed. They lie in bed together on their sides, back-to-back. Johnny’s skin is warm against Kerry’s. ‘Fuck,’ Johnny mutters. ‘Hm?’ There’s a sigh and Johnny shifts a little. ‘Still horny.’ Kerry swallows hard. ‘Yeah, the, uh . . . the gig got me goin’ too.’ Because Johnny was all over him on stage. Because he can still feel Johnny’s touch on his skin. Because he was already a little bit in love with the boy with the silver hand, but tonight Johnny utterly blew him away with his energy, his presence. And because Kerry’s a little bit drunk and a lot horny, he says, ‘We could, uh . . . give each other a hand.’ He feels Johnny turn around. Feels his breath on the nape of his neck and the touch of his organic hand on his waist. Kerry’s breath catches in his throat as Johnny’s hand slides down to his hip, around to touch his belly, then lower, lower . . . ‘Fuck!’ Kerry gasps as Johnny finally touches him through his underwear. Johnny laughs in his ear. ‘What the fuck? How long you been like this?’ Kerry swallows. ‘Like what?’ ‘Hard.’ Johnny slips his fingers under the waistband of Kerry’s shorts. Kerry can feel Johnny’s own erection poking the back of his thigh. ‘Yeah? Well, what about you?’ he says. ‘Waxing and waning since we got off stage,’ Johnny murmurs. He wraps his hand around Kerry’s cock and gives it a few teasing strokes. Kerry stifles a moan and turns over on his back, looking up into Johnny’s face. In the dark, all he can really see is the gleam in Johnny’s eyes. He reaches up, cups Johnny’s cheek, and pulls him down for a kiss. The moment their lips touch, Johnny flinches away. ‘I’m sorry,’ Kerry blurts out. Johnny’s hand is still down Kerry’s shorts, but he’s stopped moving it. ‘I don’t really . . .’ He trails off. ‘Yeah. I—if you don’t want to, then . . . but I just thought it’d be nice to, y’know, just . . . make out . . . a little?’ Kerry’s face feels hot. This feels like such a weird situation to be in. Johnny’s literally giving him a hand-job, but a kiss puts him off? There’s silence for a little bit. Since Johnny hasn’t moved his hand away, Kerry moves his own to touch Johnny’s thigh, sliding it up to cup him through his briefs. ‘This okay?’ Johnny nods. ‘Yeah.’ His voice is a soft, breathy whisper. Kerry wants to kiss him again, but he doesn’t. Instead, he slips his hand inside Johnny’s briefs and grabs his cock, jerking him slowly. Johnny’s breath catches in his throat and he releases a low groan on the exhale. After a few moments, Johnny pushes Kerry’s hand away. He sits up, pulling off his underwear, then pulls Kerry’s down as well. He gets on top of him, straddling his thighs, and takes both their dicks in his right hand. It’s a little clumsy, and he makes a frustrated noise. ‘Something wrong?’ Kerry manages to ask. ‘I’m left-handed,’ says Johnny. ‘Then use your left hand,’ says Kerry. ‘My left hand is made of metal, Ker.’ ‘Yeah, and you make music with it.’ Kerry can’t see why a hand whose fingers can manipulate the strings of a guitar like that shouldn’t be good for this. ‘Okay.’ Johnny switches hands, and Kerry gasps as the chrome touches his skin. It’s cool, but not enough so to be a problem. Johnny starts moving his hand up and down both their cocks, his movements much smoother now. It’s a weird feeling, the hard metal fingers, but his touch is soft and precise. Kerry props himself up on his elbows so he can see what’s happening. The sight of their dicks pressed together like that in Johnny’s fist makes Kerry whimper a little. ‘Fuck . . . this is . . .’ Kerry bites his lip. ‘Yeah,’ is all Johnny says. His head drops forward, forehead pressing against Kerry’s. Kerry can feel Johnny’s hot breath on his face as the jerks them both off furiously. Kerry’s hand joins Johnny’s, following his movements, warm flesh and cool metal working in tandem until they’re both gasping. Kerry’s close, can feel his balls begin to tighten. ‘Please,’ he gasps, ‘let me kiss you?’ Without a word, Johnny surges forward to capture Kerry’s lips, shoving his tongue roughly inside his mouth. Kerry groans, kissing him back. With one hand occupied and the other propping him up off the bed, Kerry can’t put his arm around Johnny—can’t slide his fingers into his shoulder-length, black hair or grab his perfect ass. The kiss will have to do. Johnny pulls back a little, nips at Kerry’s lips, before kissing him deeply again, and Kerry comes with a stifled groan, spilling over both their fingers and his own belly. Johnny follows a few seconds later. It’s lucky they’re kissing, really, or they’d both be too loud. Finally, they both take their hands away, and Johnny collapses on Kerry’s chest, his face red and sweaty. At last, Kerry’s free to run the fingers of his clean hand through Johnny’s hair, and so he does, unsticking the dark strands from his forehead. Johnny lets him. He also lets Kerry press his lips to his temple. But then he sits up, looking at his silver hand. ‘Need to wash this,’ he says. He gets out of bed, finding his briefs on the floor and pulling them on. ‘I’ll bring back some toilet paper or somethin’.’ Kerry watches him go. Johnny’s not as skinny as he was when they met. Though still lean, he no longer looks like he’s starving. Kerry stares at the ceiling while Johnny’s in the bathroom. This was probably a bad idea. He’s pretty sure Johnny doesn’t like him that way. He doesn’t even think Johnny’s all that into guys—he talks about hot girls all the time but rarely mentions boys. None of which would be a problem if it weren’t for the very real, very soft feelings in Kerry’s chest right now. He shuts his eyes and sighs, sleepy now, after his orgasm. Johnny returns with clean hands and a wad of toilet paper for Kerry to wipe himself off with. Then he gets back into bed next to him, facing away. Kerry rolls over so the two of them are back-to-back again. He’s almost asleep when, a few minutes later, Johnny rolls over again, so his chest is pressed to Kerry’s back, and drapes his arm across Kerry’s waist. ‘We always end up like this by morning anyway,’ he mumbles. Kerry swallows hard. ‘Yeah. Night, Johnny.’ ‘G’night, Ker.’ And soon, they’re both asleep.
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