Notes: WHO'S EXCITED FOR BRAGGING RIGHTS?!? I'M EXCITED FOR BRAGGING RIGHTS. So. This is the first part of what appears will be a multi-part arc covering the whole of John Morrison and The Miz's "relationship". It's not so much as a chaptered story then a loosely connected series of events. That makes sense, right? They will be posted in no particular order. I anticipate there being about ten or so different scenes. Anyway, this particular scene involves the 2009 draft. The next one is probably going to be Bragging Rights and what happens after. OH, I am so EXCITED! =D

Disclaimer: They're not mine, they belong to Mr. McMahon and themselves. Also, the title for this part is stolen and paraphrased from T. S. Eliots "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", one of the best poems in the history of ever. Go read it. The title of the whole fic is stolen from Depeche Mode. I don't own either.

"Hey, can you guys come in here for a second? We have your draft results," Shane poked his head out the office door for a moment, and disappeared back inside just as quickly.

At the word draft, Miz's stomach clenched into a hard knot. He'd been trying to tell himself that he and John weren't going to be split, that losing the titles at Wrestlemania hadn't meant anything, that if he and John changed brands, they'd be going to the same brands. He tried to keep these worries to himself the best he could, but he wasn't sure if it was working; he had been dreading this news for weeks.

He and John walked into Vince's makeshift office and sat down across from him and Shane. Miz had to resist mightily the urge to reach over and clutch John's hand. Instead he clasped his own together, his fingernails digging into the soft skin. Adrenaline was rushing through his system and he barely felt anything; the sensation was akin to someone speaking in a distant room.

Vince took a moment to collect his thoughts. To Miz, it felt like eternity, and baseless reassurances were running through his mind in a fervent prayer.

Everything will be okay. Losing the titles doesn't mean anything. Everything will be okay. Nothing is going to happen. We're not going to be split. Everything will be okay.

The chairman looked them each in the eye for a brief moment and dropped the bomb.

"Mike, you'll be drafted to RAW tonight. John, you'll be going to Smackdown after the supplemental draft tomorrow."

Miz's stomach untethered at these words and fell several hundred feet below him. He barely heard Vince describe how his match tonight would go. The thing he had been dreading for nearly a month had actually happened.

He glanced quickly to his left, to see how John was reacting. His giant rock star glasses blocked his eyes, but his face was perfectly expressionless. Vince might have just told them what he had for breakfast for all the emotion John registered. The man was definitely one stoic bastard but he—

He didn't even seem surprised.

Miz pressed his lips together, not liking where that train of thought was leading him. If John had known something about this, he would have said something. There was absolutely no other option. John would never keep something so important from him. Never.

He managed to focus long enough to hear Vince's instructions for the end of his match later against Kofi. John would walk out with him, stand in his corner, and get him disqualified. After the draft pick, Miz would turn on Morrison. Vince and Shane were positively giddy over this storyline. They had no idea what they had done.

Finally he and John were allowed to leave, and Miz's tightly held control started to slip the second the door closed behind them. He hurried down the hall towards the locker room, and then darted down a smaller side hallway, away from any prying eyes. Unable to handle it anymore, he slumped heavily against the cool cinderblock wall, trying to stay calm. John followed a moment behind him, stopping just short of where his friend was standing.

"John…" Miz trailed off, unable to render a coherent sentence. He bit his lip and attempted to meet John's eyes through those giant bedazzled sunglasses; his face was impassive. "They… they separated us. What are we going to do now? We… we're…."

In a flash, John was in front of him, wrapping his fingers around Miz's wrist, leaning into him to speak softly in his ear.

"Everything is going to be okay, I promise. But you have a match right now, and we have to get through that first. We'll talk about it later. Are you going to be able to get through this?"

Miz took some slight comfort from both John's words and the touch. They rarely ever touched outside of the ring, in any kind of unprofessional manner. John was adamant about keeping their professional and personal lives as separate as possible.

"Yeah… yeah. Sure. John, I…."

John squeezed his wrist a little harder, and then let go entirely.

"Later. I promise. This first."

Miz nodded, scrubbing a hand over his face. When he opened his eyes again, John had removed his glasses and was watching Miz closely, his brown eyes soft and concerned. He reached out and gently traced a line down the side of the younger man's face. Miz leaned into the touch briefly, and then John dropped his hand.

"You can do this, Mike," he said softly, meeting the other man's eyes steadily. Miz nodded. Before he could register the movement, John had turned away, glasses again covering his eyes, and headed back toward the locker room. Miz took a deep breath and followed.

~*~

Sweat dripped down the side of his face, and he caught John's eye as he watched from the floor. John nodded, a barely perceptible movement. He threw Kofi across the ring, watching as the Jamaican superstar bounced against the turnbuckle. A moment later, he ran towards him, setting up his high knee kick, but instead ran into Kofi's feet as he kicked up and out, hitting Miz's chest. Selling the move, he stumbled back several steps, and then crashed to the mat. He saw John out of the corner of his eye as he snuck to the turnbuckle Kofi was perched on, and then a flurry of moment as he pushed Kofi off. The ref rushed over and then signaled for the bell to be rung.

Miz crawled towards the ref, begging him to reconsider; he barely had to act. He heard Kofi yelling at him from the other side of the ring, but all he could see was John, standing on the apron calling to him. They shouted incoherent arguments at each other, "You got me disqualified!" and "I was just trying to help!" John stepped into the ring and together they watched the Titantron "randomly" select Raw's draft pick.

With a sinking heart, Miz saw his own face on the giant screen. Hope he hadn't been aware he was holding onto dissipated. Maybe they would have changed their minds at the last minute; maybe it was a joke. But his face on the big screen made it perfectly real; they were being separated. It was really going to happen.

He managed to manufacture a surprised expression for a few seconds, and then turned to look at John. The look of sadness and pity in his unguarded brown eyes caused the breath to catch in Miz's throat. John reached out his hand and before he could check the movement, Miz pulled him in and wrapped his arms around his (former) Tag Team partner. John went with it, clapping him on the back and attempting to disengage after a few seconds. When Miz refused to let go, John held on a little tighter and whispered, "Let go. You're almost done."

Miz turned, switching places, and then finally let go. As John turned to walk away, Miz kicked out. The other man leaned forward, and Miz Reality Checked him. John was left writhing on the mat, and the last of Miz's adrenaline was spent. He stood in the middle of the ring, yelling and posturing. After a few moments of that, he wriggled out and headed backstage, leaving John in the ring behind him.

He wasn't sure how long he sat in the locker room, just staring at the lockers, not even seeing what he was in front of him. Sweat was drying on his skin, he hadn't even bothered to change out of his ring clothes, and he couldn't find the energy to get up. The door to the locker room opened, and he couldn't bear to look. A familiar scent drifted to his nose; John sat down beside him.

"You okay?"

Miz didn't say anything, merely raised one shoulder in a half-hearted shrug. John slung an arm over his shoulders and squeezed lightly.

"It'll be all right," he said quietly.

"Sure, like you and Melina were all right when you were put on separate brands?" Miz spat the words, not really wanting to direct his anger, his frustration or his sadness on John, but he had nowhere else to direct it. John's brow furrowed, surprised at the bitterness in his friend's voice. He really wasn't sure how to answer this; when he and Melina had been split, he'd met Mike. And they'd started this… whatever it was. After a long moment, Miz let out a sigh so deep it seemed as though it had come all the way from his toes.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. I'm just… this sucks. I don't mean to take it out on you. It's not your fault." He raised his head and glanced over at John, once again looking stoic and unemotional behind his bedazzled rock star shades. "I'd swear you didn't even blink when they told us. I don't know how you do it, man."

Miz had resumed staring at the floor between his feet as he spoke, and he failed to see John drop his head down and look away. When a few moments went by with no response from John, Miz sat back up, suddenly very worried. His uneasiness only deepened as he watched the other man very pointedly not look at him.

"John?"

No response. The warm weight of John's arm around his shoulders disappeared as he readjusted his position, propping his elbows on his knees instead. That sinking feeling was back in Miz's stomach again, heavier than ever.

"You already knew, didn't you."

"Yeah." John's voice was barely loud enough to travel the distance between them. Miz could only shake his head, trying to keep his rising anger from overwhelming his sense.

"How?"

"Shane told me. It was an accident; he didn't mean to."

"When?"

"…Right before Wrestlemania."

Miz moved away from John, sliding a few feet further down the bench. He'd assumed John had found out maybe earlier that day. He wasn't prepared to hear anything like this.

"You've known for almost three weeks, and you didn't tell me? What the fuck, John?"

He could feel his pulse pounding in his temples and was no longer able to remain seated. His hands are clenched into fists as he paced back and forth, a few steps each way, glaring daggers at the top of John's bowed head.

"Three fucking weeks, John, and you couldn't fucking tell me? You'd rather let Shane and Vince tell me instead of being a man and telling me yourself?"

"Mike, will you calm down for a second?" John reached out and grabbed Miz's wrist as he strode past him, tugging him towards the bench. Lightning-quick, Miz snatched his hand back, cocking it back and stopping within an ace of driving it forward into John's unemotional face.

"Don't you fucking touch me. So help me god, if you touch me again ever, I will not be able to stop myself."

John slowly pulled his hands away and held them up, palms out.

"Could you just listen to me for one minute?"

Miz stopped his angry pacing and stood in front of the still-seated Morrison, his arms crossed over his bare chest.

With a low sigh, John ran a hand through his hair, trying to find the words to explain his actions.

"First of all, it was an accident. Shane never meant to say anything to me. He made me promise not to say anything to anyone. Even you." Miz's mouth dropped open in shock, and John held up his hands again, hoping to preempt any further angry tirades. "Let me finish. I know I should have told you. But I didn't know how. I could tell you were worried about losing the titles at Wrestlemania, and then about the draft. I couldn't tell you they were planning on splitting us up. I was hoping maybe they'd change their minds or something. But… I didn't know how to tell you. I didn't… want to be the one to hurt you."

Miz huffed out a breath and sat back down on the bench, his anger subsiding somewhat at John's uncharacteristically soft words.

"You should have told me."

"I know. I'm so sorry, Mike."

"So what do we do now?"

"Now… you take a shower and change your clothes."

Miz smiled slightly.

"And after that?"

"We go back to the hotel."

Miz smiled a little wider, and then looked back at John, worry evident in his eyes even through the smile.

"And… after that?"

"We'll figure it out when we get there. Still mad at me?"

"Yes."

"Good. Go take a shower. I'll meet you back at the hotel."

With those words, he reached out to give Miz's bare shoulder a slight squeeze, and then stood up, leaving the younger man alone to sort through his myriad emotions.

Author's note the second: Oh, you thought the actual draft broke them up? Oh, no. The dear things gave the long distance thing a try. Something *else* breaks them up. Hey, leave some feedback. Do you have any ideas for a Miz/Morrison scene? Let me know.