The curve of the skin; Shawn Michaels knows better, even as his hands linger on those hips, sliding ever downward. It's temptation, a magnet that draws him nearer, that succulent heat and the feel of sweat, the masculine, delicious scent of Bret, who is never this nice in the locker-room, when his family members are watching. Dark, curly hair brushing against his skin, those seeking lips, that mouth that throws such curses in the bright of day, waiting for him now, open. He envelopes Bret's body, guarding it with his arms, eyes sealed shut against the encroaching dawn that will tear them apart, set off again the enmity.

"I love you," he whispers, tentative, softly. Silence. He waits; silence lingers. Touching Bret's chin with one finger, he turns the other man's face towards his own, searching for something, but Bret's eyes are closed, lost in the sensation of touch and taste, awaiting pleasure. "I love you," repeats Shawn. It is so unlike him to admit it that he is shocked by himself. He's never had to tell anyone that before, at least not genuinely, and certainly no one has ever told him. They don't look his way, not really, except when looking forward to a roll in the hay, all the other men, who want to rewind after a long, grueling match sometimes and only acknowledge him in the locker room, lust in their eyes. They don't realize the pain he feels after they leave him, each man as uncaring as the last. But surely Bret must feel something. They've been discreetly meeting for months now, sneaking off whenever Bret manages to disentangle himself from his suffocating family members. Sometimes, it's nothing more than a passionate kiss, a quick embrace. Other times, they lay languid as times drips by in slow dollops, limbs spilled across the sheets of their hotel room beds, dead to the world and all its inhabitants. Like now.

Bret opens one eye, disappointed. He doesn't want to talk, definitely doesn't want to discuss Shawn Michaels's feelings, for this should hardly mean anything to him. What he wants is to lie still and feel Shawn's hands on him while his thoughts drift to Davey Boy Smith, him of the braided, beaded hair and knockout smile. He wishes Shawn would be quiet and get back to work, make him feel good again, instead of leaving him untended to and babbling about love. Where is the place for love, Bret thinks, in a rendezvous arranged only for pleasure? His mind shows him Davey, the way he tiredly smiles at him, how he looks after wrestling a hard fought match, unlacing his boots. He wonders what it would be like to have him here now, instead of Shawn, to hear him admit love, infatuation, anything, the way Shawn is apparently bent on now.

"Oh Bret..."

He feels himself redden as Bret looks at him. There is no passion in that gaze, just the glaze of boredom that Bret often wears before a match, when Owen is busy as he cracks jokes with his brother and Davey readies himself with the passion of a supplicant. He has spoken too soon. "Never mind."

That Bret should say something is obvious to both of them, but this is Bret Hard, big bad Bret Hart, Shawn has chosen, and Bret isn't the type for mush and sentiment. He falls back against the pillow, a slight smile across his face, now that it is resolved.

The air seems to grow cold, still. Shawn shivers and reaches for his clothes, long since discarded. Humiliated, he stares down at Bret's smug, expectant face and feels a twinge of hatred, more for himself than for Bret. He shouldn't have expected anything, should have anticipated Bret was only in it for the sex, like everyone else, and even though he knows he shouldn't care, he can't help but feel hurt.

"Oh, now what?" Bret asks impatiently, rising up. He sees Shawn dressing and his expression darkens. "Oh, wonderful," he remarks sarcastically, dragging on his trousers and shooting Shawn a glare so like all his ex-lovers' patented ones that Shawn wants to hit him. "You're not bad in the sack, Michaels, but no one's going to fall in love with you for that. I wouldn't have figured you to be so sappy."


"Save it," Bret advises. "I'd better go anyway. It's late; Owen and Davey'll wonder where I've been."

"Davey," Shawn scoffs jealously.

Bret pretends not to notice. "Mhm," he says, ignoring Shawn's obvious envy. Adjusting his clothes, he looks at Shawn. "Tomorrow?"

If he were a stronger man emotionally, Shawn would shoot Bret a look of disdain and tell him never again, but it is lonely on the outside, cold too, and Bret is the one person who seems to think he's worth anything, even if it's just another meaningless lay. Other than his Kliq members, no one tries to spend time with him, and sometimes, believe it or not, the fabled arrogant heartbreaker just wants somebody to keep him warm. Shawn nods. "Tomorrow, then."