Notes: Holy shit, guys. Hi. Do you even still remember this fic? I hope so, because I've had a lot of people asking me if I was ever going to finish it. And, well, I still can't promise I'll FINISH it, but it's clearly not in my dead fic folder yet, either. This chapter deals with John's past, so Miz isn't really in it, and I'm sorry for that. If I get to the NEXT chapter, he'll be in that one. For anyone who even reads this after all this time, thank you so much and I am so grateful for your patience. Thank you so, so, so much for waiting. You guys are the best.

Although the retching had ceased some time back, John couldn't muster the energy to move, even to crawl back to bed. He wasn't sure how long he'd been leaning on the toilet; between the booze and his despair, his sense of time was incredibly warped. It might have been fifteen minutes or it might have been three hours. He had no way of knowing.

Eventually he pulled himself up, flushing the toilet once more for good measure, and rinsed out his mouth with water held in cupped hands. Orton – his stomach flopped and he paused at the sink, wondering if even the thought of Randy would be enough to make him sick, but after a moment it settled – had used both the glasses provided by the hotel.

The main room smelled like booze and sweat and anger. John thought about maybe opening a window, but instead just cranked the air and called it good. He collapsed into bed without ever having opened his eyes more than halfway. His stomach trembled again as he inhaled the scent of Orton on his sheets, but he was so exhausted he dropped down into sleep only a few minutes later.

John leaned forward, feeling nothing but the pleasant stretch and burn in his thighs, the rough canvas under his palms. The shouts and catcalls of the other wrestlers echoed around the room and he couldn't help but smile to himself. He'd been in OVW three months and he was living the dream. Thousands wouldn't be so lucky. Even with the sleepless nights and the grueling schedule, he still awoke every morning with a smile on his face, a smile that lasted until he laid his head on his pillow at night. Jim would be moving him to the WWE proper within the year, if his training went well, and by God, John would train his ass off, if that's what it took.

He switched to his other leg, wincing at the tightness, but never lost the smile on his face. Every bump, bruise, twinge, ache and pain was worth it. He was going to make it. He was going to headline Wrestlemania someday.

From across the room, Jim shouted his name, his voice cutting through the ambient noise like a shot. John stood up, moving easily with the bouncing canvas, and Jim beckoned him over to the other side of the room, where he was standing with a tall young man.

There was something familiar about him, John thought as he headed towards the pair, though whatever it was hung just out of reach. He'd seen the kid around a time or two in the past week, not much more than a glimpse as he walked from one place to another; he was hard to miss, with his incredible physique and the confidence that went with it. A person would have to be blind.

"Hey, Jim. What's up?" he asked as he reached the trainer.

"Got a new guy here for ya. You guys'll be working an angle together for a while. He's—"

"Randy Orton," the man himself interjected, smiling a cool smile that didn't quite reach his eyes and reaching out a hand, long fingers wrapping around John's in a sure grip. John returned it, and then the familiarity occurred to him.

"Orton? Any relation to Bob Orton?"

"My father," he said, his gaze cooling by twenty degrees and his smile becoming hard, as if daring John to say something. John smiled back, a little unnerved by Randy's cold gaze; the way he was staring at him was almost… predatory.

Someone yelled for Jim from the office, and with a hearty clap to both men's shoulders, he hurried off to take a phone call.

"So…" John started, as they watched their fearless leader walk off. "I guess we'll be working together for a while."

"It appears so," Randy said, his eyes never losing that challenging edge. John decided he didn't like this kid looking at him like a snake or something sizing up its next meal, and set his jaw. He wasn't about to lose his place in the WWE for some kid who clearly thought he was the next world heavyweight champion just because his daddy was Cowboy Bob.

"Why don't we get in the ring and you show me what you've got."

Randy's smile only widened one extra degree at the challenge in John's voice.

"My pleasure."

Within fifteen minutes, John decided he may have bit off more than he could chew with this new kid. Orton was good, Orton was fast. Within thirty minutes, John also decided that it didn't matter who his father was, he was getting in the WWE regardless, and probably had a long and very prestigious career ahead of him. Within an hour, John was exhausted. Randy had barely broken a sweat and was only breathing a tinge harder than normal.

"Damn, kid," John said, laughing and panting as he wiped his face with a towel. "That was a hell of a workout!"

Randy just smiled that cool smile, grabbing his own towel from the pile in the locker room and walking back towards the showers. John followed, pausing long enough to grab a pair of boxers from his gym bag, lost in his own thoughts, planning out his future, as he was wont to do.

He stripped and stepped into a shower stall, turning the water on hot as he could stand it, letting it sooth his perpetually sore muscles, relishing the heat and the steam surrounding him.

Without warning a cool draft hit him, shoulders to butt, and he turned around, wondering if he'd forgotten to shut the curtain all the way, or if he was about to get ambushed with ice water. He should be thankful that that was as far as the hazing went around here, random practical jokes notwithstanding.

Instead of Rico with a glass of ice water, or throwing his clean clothes into the shower, Randy was standing behind him, wearing nothing but that predatory expression, so hard and cold that John wondered for a split second if his tongue might just be forked.

Then of course his senses reached him and he reached down and covered himself out of instinct.

"Randy what the fuck are you doing in here? Get out!"

Instead of leaving the shower with a flush of embarrassment and a stuttered apology, which would have made all the sense in the world, Randy instead moved closer, pressing his body to John's and a hand over his mouth.

"Shut up, John, do you want them to see us in here together? And have to answer all those awkward questions? And then there goes your future, down the drain. Vince wouldn't so much as look at you."

John's eyes widened at the surety in Randy's gaze. He wriggled his hands away from himself, trying to ignore the feel of Orton's abs on the back of his fingers, and finally freed them from between their bodies.

"I don't know what you're getting at, Orton," he hissed, pulling Orton's hand off his mouth. "But I don't swing like that, and if you leave right now, I won't tell anyone this happened."

Instead of moving away, Randy just leaned in further, planting his hands on the tile wall behind John's shoulders and bit firmly the curve of John's neck, his tongue darting out to taste the water sliding off his skin.

His tongue is forked…

"Randy," he said, struggling to keep his breathing even and his voice firm. "You need to stop this, right now."

Randy leaned back to look John square in the face.


"What!" He made no effort to keep his voice down and Randy pressed his palm over his lips again.

"What did I tell you. If they find us in here like this, we're both out of the WWE. Vince might claim to be an equal opportunity employer, but it's really don't ask don't tell all over again, and I'm not going to let that happen again. But…" he paused and slid his tongue over his lower lip. "I've been watching you, and I'm also not going to let you leave this shower until I've tasted you. Now, are you going to let me do what I want, or are you going to bring the whole goddamned roster in here and jeopardize both of our futures?"

As he spoke, the hand not plastered over John's mouth moved from the wall behind him over his body, his long fingers skating over John's abs, sliding drops of water backwards up the inside of his thigh. John squeezed his eyes shut as he felt himself growing hard. He tried to move his hips away from Randy, but there was nowhere for him to go.

"Stop struggling, John. I know you want this. I can feel it." Long, sure fingers wrapped around his growing erection and moved slowly. "Stop lying to yourself, stop thinking and just let yourself feel. I can make you feel so good, John. Let me show you."Randy's voice lowered to a husky, intoxicating whisper. "Please… let me show you."

John forced his eyes open, tried to think beyond the pleasure beginning to course in slow, sticky waves through his body. "Randy…" he started, and licked his lips; his mouth felt dry, even standing in the middle of a shower.

"I won't tell anyone," Randy murmured, beginning to move his hand faster, twisting his wrist. "It'll be our secret."

"Oh, God," John moaned, his eyes slamming shut again, his hips moving into Randy's hand of their own accord. He felt Randy press two fingers to his lips and his mouth parted, his tongue slid out to taste them.

"But you have to stay quiet," Randy said, sounding a bit out of breath himself. "Can you do that for me, John? Later, I promise I'll fuck you 'til you scream, but right now, you need to stay quiet."

Randy's fingers slid out of mouth and John swallowed a moan. Without warning the talented hand causing such mind-bending pleasure left his cock and John opened his eyes, wondering if Randy's plan was just to get him hard, and leave him high and dry, so to speak, as some kind of horrible practical joke.

But no, he opened his eyes with enough time to see Randy moving to his knees, watched wide-eyed and incredulous as he parted his lips and, not breaking eye contact even so much as to blink, sunk his mouth over the head of John's cock.

That was all he saw, as he had to close his eyes almost immediately; Randy's mouth was doing things to him he never even imagined. His last girlfriend hated giving head, and this, oh god, this…

He was just self-aware enough to hear himself moaning, and managed to raise his hand and bite down on the side of his palm. His other hand somehow found its way to the back of Randy's head, and he could feel the wet strands of his hair sliding through his fingers, feel the bob of his head as he took John's cock down his throat, his tongue swirling around the head or lathing the underside, Randy's hand clutching convulsively on his thigh, and oh fuck, those eyes looking up at him, those wide and lidless viper's eyes….

"Randy," he gasped, not noticing the indents he'd left in the side of his hand. "I'm gonna… oh God..."

His other hand fisted unconsciously in the wet strands of Randy's hair and his hips jolted forward as the sharp snap of his orgasm caught him off-guard. He felt the head of his cock hit the back of Randy's throat, and if he minded, he gave no notice. The muscles in this throat rippled around the sensitive flesh and John moaned again, struggling to keep it low. He pumped his hips a few more times lazily against Randy's face and then pulled away, leaning against the cool tile wall and tried to regain his composure. His ears were roaring and he couldn't tell if it was the sound of the blood flying through his veins or the spray of the shower.

A moment, or maybe ten, or maybe only a few seconds went by, when he heard Randy moan. John opened his eyes, the lids heavy with exhaustion and satiety, and saw Randy, still on his knees, fisting his own cock in furious motion.

"John…" he moaned again, a little louder, and John had enough time to wonder if maybe Randy was asking him for something, when his free hand grabbed John's thigh, clutching with desperate strength, and John watched hypnotized as Randy shuddered through his own orgasm at his feet.

For a moment, time stood still. John blinked down at Randy's stooped form, drops of water flowing over his heaving shoulders; he was breathing much harder than he had after their go-round in the ring, John noted with distant amusement. Then Randy tilted his head back to look at John, and those icy blue eyes met his again, and all the amusement ran out of John in a hurry. Randy rose to his feet, perhaps a bit unsteadily, and leaned his body into John's, heavy and shower-warm. He kissed John's neck, much gentler this time, and then whispered into his ear, lips brushing the skin.

"I'm staying in the Holiday Inn down the street. Room 201. This was just a taste, John. The rest is up to you."

Without even a further backward glance, he'd slid out of the shower stall, much the way he'd gone in, even leaving a blast of cold air in his wake. John leaned against the tile wall, the shower beginning to turn cool, and pressed trembling fingers to the place on his neck Randy had bit him. There was a dull throb of pain and John closed his eyes, wondering if he would bruise.

He had gone to the hotel that night.

John woke with a start some hours later. He looked around blearily, for a moment unable to remember where he was or what was happening. The force of the memory was so strong, for a moment he expected to see the dingy walls of a certain hotel in which he'd spent such an intense – albeit brief - period of time of his life. He rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands, and everything began to come back to him.

He made his way through the blurry grey morninglight, remembering how he'd trashed his room in anger the night before, and Randy, showing up and pretending to offer comfort in the guise of Jack Daniels and sex. Thank god he'd puked the night before, or he'd be struggling through one hell of a hangover.

Randy, he thought to himself. Fucking snake. The thought of Orton made him feel sick and grimy, and he stepped into the shower, lost in his own thoughts and memories.

Their relationship, or consistent fucking, or whatever you wanted to call it, lasted a little over six months during their time in OVW, before Randy was called up to Smackdown. John followed soon after, and while it was clear Randy had no problem with continuing their little tryst in the big-leagues, it was also clear he had no such problems carrying on several similar trysts with other members of the roster.

John called off the affair, or whatever it was, a few months after hitting Smackdown. What he thought would be a simple "Thanks, but I'm out" actually culminated in a screaming fight and Orton putting his fist through the hotel room wall, something that would cost them $200 in extra charges and a request that Mr. Orton tried to avoid all Sleep Inns in the future, if he could.

He was shortly thereafter moved to RAW, and John was able to focus on his career. Mostly.

There had been a few times in the preceding ten years when they had got together for some truly earth-shattering sex; whether because John had just suffered yet another horrible breakup or he was unable to resist those viper's eyes staring at him over the rim of a glass. He had been weak, but as his career flourished, he was able to resist Orton's advances. Orton had stalked on, finding his prey among the younger, greener members of the roster.

And then John had found Mike, and never needed anything – or anyone, Orton included – ever again. There had been no backslides to Orton, not even when Orton showed up in his locker-room after a show one night about six months ago, drunk as a skunk and coming as close as he possibly could to begging John for one more chance. When John had made the mistake of telling Randy he was with someone, the goddamned snake wouldn't relent until John had told him who. Orton's response was to hurl a waterglass across the room, shattering glass shards everywhere but causing no other damage, and then stalking out. As John cleaned up the mess, he had a moment's stab of pity to whoever Randy happened to be currently fucking; that person was going to be in a very sore way tomorrow morning.

John sighed, still lost in his thoughts as he began to clean up the room. He righted everything that had been upset, put his clothes back in the drawers, and put as much back where it had come from as possible. He was tempted to just throw out the two tumblers, drops of whiskey still clinging to the inside, but in the end dropped them on the bathroom counter.

With the room more or less set to rights, he dropped hard on the bed, wondering what he was going to do with himself today. Mike hadn't wanted to see anyone, even him. It had been so odd how that had happened. They had been talking, Mike looked comfortable, relaxed, almost happy, and then fifteen minutes later had requested absolutely no visitors whatsoever. It didn't even make sense. Had he seen something, remembered something in that short timeframe? Was it possible someone had been in to see him?

John pondered this, chewing absently on the side of his thumbnail. Mike had said something, just before he'd gone to fix the visitor's list. The man – or men – who'd hurt him could just stroll right in like any sane person and no one would be the wiser. It could be someone they both knew, both trusted. Maybe Mike was absolutely right, though it hurt John's heart to think Mike couldn't trust him, to think he had to go through all this alone.

The persistent image of the one who'd hurt Mike, just walking right in without anyone giving him a second glance was terrifying. And the more he thought about it, the more he became utterly certain that it had, at some point or another, actually happened. Surely a man – or men – so insane as to jump a man in the dark of a parking garage would have to be unbalanced, and who's to say he wouldn't be so unbalanced as to walk right in the hospital, just to rub everyone's nose in it? To give himself – or themselves, whichever – some smug sense of superiority.

The police were at a dead loss; there had been no fingerprints and the only blood found at the scene was Mike's. Until Mike recalled enough of his memory to identify his attacker – if he ever did – the man (or men!) would simply go about his life, and Mike would be forever jumping over his own shadow, never feeling safe again.

John wondered if there was a way he could see a list of everyone who had been in to see Mike since the accident. Maybe there was something that didn't jive, someone who shouldn't have been there, someone's guilty look he might remember if he saw their name. It was better than sitting in the hotel room, twiddling his thumbs all day and waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen.

With his jaw set in grim determination, he began to get ready for the day.