Notes: I wrote this in one day. That never happens. Ever. Anyways, this started out mostly as a character sketch and then kinda went somewhere else. But I like it. I'm very fond. Also, just so you don't get too confused, this does in fact come before "The Moment's Crisis", chronologically speaking.
Mike sat on the edge of the bed, his newly won Tag Team Championship belt on his lap. The belt had been lying on the bed; he'd laid it down beside his duffel to change his clothes, but he'd only manage to strip down to his boxers before being drawn back to the – to his – belt. He couldn't stop staring at it, running his fingers over it, watching the light shine across the gold plating. It was real. And it was his. He had waited his entire life for this moment, to sit in the hotel room he was sharing with John, and hold a WWE championship belt with his name on it. There had been too much going on, too much adrenaline and light and sound and cameras flashing and microphones in his face after they'd beat MVP and Matt to really register what had happened, what he – and John – had just accomplished.
Backstage, in the locker room, in the car on the way over, although he had been going over it again and again in his head – A belt, a championship belt, a WWE championship belt, I am a WWE champion, this is my belt, my name is on this belt – it really hadn't sunk in until just now, until this quiet moment, sitting on the end of this bed in some chain hotel, the weight of the – his -- belt on his lap. It was one thing knowing you were going to win the belt – that had a special kind of happiness – but it didn't even remotely compare to physically having the belt, to hold it, to touch it, to sling it over his shoulder or buckle it around his waist.
He traced the WWE logo, measured the wingspan of the engraved eagle, drew his thumb across the words World Tag Team Champions, and then paused, just taking in the rather understated little gold plate reading "The Miz". This is my belt. I have a belt.
"This is my belt," he said out loud, grinning a little. "I have a belt. I am a WWE champion. I did it. I. Fucking. Did it!" He nearly yelled the words in the empty hotel room, now grinning fully from ear to ear. Yeah, it was definitely hitting him now. Elation was filling his chest, making him want to dance around, yell at the top of his lungs, or call every person who ever told him he wasn't going to make it and tell them they were wrong. He had a belt. With his name on it. He'd screwed up on live television, tortured himself with four years of Deep South and OVW, came within an inch of winning Tough Enough, wore a replica belt and strutted around an apartment in New York, and grew up watching Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan on television. And now… he had finally made it. He had a belt.
Yeah, sitting still was rapidly becoming downright impossible. He bounced to his feet – not that grown men normally bounced, although grown men who had just won their first WWE belt were exempt from such silly masculine prohibitions – and held the belt to his chest, the metal cool against his bare skin. There was a large mirror over the dresser, and he stopped in front of it, admiring the way the belt looked in his hands. After a moment he raised it up over his head, much like the way he had in the ring earlier, looking every inch the champion. He held it in front of him and after a few moments of fumbling with the snaps, secured the belt around his waist.
A champion was staring back at him. An honest to god undisputed champion. He'd held titles before, in OVW and Deep South, but this? Oh, this was something else entirely. This was the big time, the real thing, undisputed proof that he had been right all along. Proof that following your dreams and your heart could turn out for the best. Physical, tangible proof, sitting right there around his waist. Nobody was ever going to drag him down again. Even if he and John lost their belts, no one would ever be able to tell him he couldn't – that he didn't – make it, ever again.
Mike grinned at his reflection. He couldn't seem to stop grinning. Before he could stop to think about it, he burst into a shuffling little dance. That alleviated some of the overwhelming sense of elation and accomplishment and excitement taking him over. He danced a little harder, hopping around from one foot to the other, turning in circles, throwing his hips into it. Fifteen minutes later, he'd tossed one of his fiery bedazzled fedoras on and was dancing full-out around the hotel room, so into it he didn't hear John enter the room and stand just inside the room, struggling not to break into laughter.
It was a battle that John ultimately lost; seeing Mike dance around and shaking his ass, dancing around in a fedora, boxers and the newly-won title was just too much to bear. He burst into guffaws, only laughing harder at Mike's wide eyed expression of shock and embarrassment. Mike stopped mid-move, turning his head in an attempt to hide his flushed cheeks, crossing his arms over his chest. He normally didn't embarrass easily, if at all, but something about John and this… thing they had made him feel self-conscious and awkward a lot of the time. John catching him with his guard so far down was easily the most embarrassed he'd felt in a long, long time.
John stepped further into the room, his laughter tapering off, his expression melting from one of mirth into one of concern.
"Mike…" he said softly, reaching out for him, dropping a hand on his shoulder.
He looked up, face half covered by the fedora, but his pink cheeks were still quite evident. Mike didn't respond, merely met John's eyes for half a second and then looked away.
"I did the same thing when I got the ECW championship. It feels amazing, doesn't it? You finally have something to show for all your hard work. When people ask you why you wanted to get into this business, you actually have something physical to show them."
As John spoke, he wrapped his arms around the younger man's shoulders and maneuvered them around so they were both looking in the mirror, meeting each other's eyes in the reflection. Mike felt some of his earlier shame melting away at John's admission. He couldn't help but smirk at the thought of John dancing around half-naked with the ECW title around his waist. John smiled in response and drew Mike a little closer, one arm wrapped around his shoulders, the other curled around his hip and splaying one hand across the gold on his waist.
"So don't feel ashamed. Besides… it looks good on you. And I like to see you dance."
"Thanks," Mike said quietly, wrapping one hand around John's forearm and gently , almost timidly, placing the other over the hand resting on his belt. "They said I couldn't do it. They said I wasn't good enough. That I was a reality star, that Vince just handed me a contract based on that. But I worked for it every single day… sometimes it was work just getting out of bed in the morning. And now… I did it. We did it. You and I."
"Yes we did," John murmured, breaking eye contact to press a line of gentle kisses across the other man's shoulder and the side of his neck. Mike closed his eyes and tilted his head away, allowing John to continue his ministrations unheeded. A little smile played at the corners of his lips; life simply did not get any better than this.
"Hey John?" he asked softly, stroking the soft skin of the other man's wrist with his thumb. John, still quite preoccupied, hummed in response. Mike shivered a little at the effect, and then continued what he was saying. "Thank you."
John pressed one final kiss to the soft skin in front of him, and then pulled back, meeting Mike's eyes once again in the mirror's reflection.
"Well, without you, I wouldn't be standing here with my first championship gold around my waist. "
"Nah, you'd just be standing here with someone else," John teased gently, kissing Mike's temple.
Mike glared at John in the mirror for a moment, and then went back to looking serious, almost pensive.
"I wouldn't want to be here with anyone else. I'm… glad it's you."
"Well, I'm glad to help you get your first championship. You never forget your first."
Mike realized with a little burst of heat that they had stopped talking about the gold, and were discussing other, less familiar topics of conversation. The soft light he could see in John's eyes seemed to indicate he realized this as well.
"No," he said echoed softly, watching John watching him. "You never forget your first."