Daniel wakes to warmth, a solid, safe kind of warmth that strongly contradicts what he last remembers - cooling bathwater and the pain of a scalpel, ache and dizziness as he watched himself bleed. Briefly he wonders if he's been wrong about the afterlife all along, but decides that if he is in hell, he should be in decidedly more agony; if heaven, his back wouldn't still be aching like it always had.
He is still alive.
The knowledge hits him with a wash of pain. He was no stranger to this - the attempt, or to the lack of success, a deed tried many times in the early days of his servitude, before They'd made the consequences of his attempts very clear. But it doesn't explain why he is still alive now....
He opens his eyes, blinking in the hint of dawn that shines through the window, and his mind quickly processes the fact that he is still naked, and that John Murdoch is somehow sleeping next to him, arms and one thigh wrapped around him possessively, a closeness that Daniel knows will quickly become very embarrassing for him if he can't immediately go find his clothes. He considers his options for a few moments, then slowly, carefully tries to extract himself from the other man's embrace.
John gives a sleepy murmur, and tightens his arms around him. As he does so, Daniel suddenly realizes that he can breathe - truly breathe, full and deep, for the first time in as long as he can remember. The discovery floors him, and he stares at John incredulously as the other man rouses, dark curls tousled, and looks up at him with a yawn.
"Mm, sorry... didn't mean to fall asleep on you. You feeling ok?"
Daniel's lips part, and even when he manages to find words, they still aren't all that coherent. "You - my lungs.... you healed them?"
"Among other things," John says softly, watching him worriedly, and the doctor drops his eyes in shame, silent for a few moments before speaking again, voice low.
"How did you find me?"
"Your memories." He hears John give a little sigh. "My memories, that you gave me. You told me goodbye. And that... you didn't belong here."
He echoes the sigh, troubled. "I don't, John," he says softly. "I have never been imprinted as the others have been. The memories I have been left with are insufficient to allow me to be a normal, functioning member of society. All I remember is Them."
John frowns. "Look, whatever that means, I don't care. This isn't a psychology lesson, and you belong here as much as anyone else, or more. Daniel... I don't want you to go...."
Daniel gives his head a little shake, looking up at him sadly. "I do not have a place in this city, John. Truly."
He watches dark brows furrow above clear green eyes, sorrowful. "Of course you do."
"A psychologist who cannot even remember his trade? Where would I even begin to fit?" He laughs softly, bitterly, but John shakes his head.
Gentle fingers move to touch the side of his face, stroking slowly over the lines of his scars. Then slowly, but very deliberately, John Murdoch leans in to cover his mouth with his, in a warm, close mouthed caress. "You are my friend," he says softly, breath a whisper against his skin, like a second kiss, though Daniel's mind is still reeling from the first.
"Friend?" he gasps softly, and John smiles, and traces the edges of Daniel's lips slowly with the pad of his thumb.
"Of course," the dark haired man replies. "What else did you think the memories you gave me would make us?"
Daniel felt his cheeks heat up, and looked away, ashamed. "It's not real, John. Like everything else in the city, it is a farce. Synthesized emotions. No more."
John looks a little thoughtful, then shakes his head again slowly. "I don't think so," he muses, gaze unfocused somewhere on the pillow beside Daniel's head as he speaks. "It's not the same, it feels... different, then how I feel about Emma. I remembered, and felt this way because of what I remembered. What you told me. The things that made me begin to know you. The things that let you know me, know about this city and who I am when no one else could ever understand." His eyes move back to Daniel's, searching them. "Isn't that what friendship is? Knowing each other, trusting each other?"
When Daniel doesn't reply, John's eyes lower again, voice very low and soft. "When I... when I remembered your farewell.... it hurt so badly, it frightened me so much, and I didn't even really know why.... But I've realized that I - I don't know how to do this whole Tuning thing, this taking care of the city thing. I don't want to. Not without you by my side."
"You kissed me," Daniel says softly, after a long silence of taking this all in, as it's the only reply he can manage in the face of all these words and revelations.
John smiles and looks sheepish. "Yeah... sorry. It just occurred to me... that I'd wanted to do so for a very long time, for as long as I can remember."
"But I didn't..." he stops in confusion, looking up at John as green eyes flick back to his. "John, I didn't create that. There was... nothing sexual or romantic in your implant - absolutely nothing, regardless of how I felt, I - it would be very unprofessional, very inappropriate of me..." he stops, realizing what he's said, realizing that he's flustered and near stammering, that he's blushing, and that John's smile is slowly widening as he speaks.
"Then this must be real," the dark haired man murmurs, and leaning in, kisses him again.
The realization is stunningly bright to Daniel, and beautiful, and his lips part under John's without hesitation. Perhaps he does have a place in the new city after all.