A/N: Written at the request of the lovely PoisonedSkittles. Now, I must confess that this story didn't quite pan out as planned but it is what it is, don't hate me :D Inspired by the massively overdone tan that the Shaman of SelfTan had a few weeks ago on Raw. And Sheamus' dialogue is kinda out there but I'm half Irish myself so I'm not doing it to mock or hate. Just sit back and laugh eh!
There was no escaping it. The colour was way too dark, Raw was only 5 hours away and no amount of body lotion or exfoliation would take the colour down from Ooompa Loompa to natural tan this side of Thursday. The mirror and harsh lighting of the tanning salon made every imperfection show and made it clear how the pronounced bumps of his abs were enhanced and highlighted by the way the tanning lotion had gathered in the valleys between them. It looked ridiculous and between the reactions John suspected he'd get from the production team and Johnny Ace he knew he was in big trouble.
They were always warned not to tan later than the day before TV but a delayed flight followed by a missed alarm call were responsible for the state John was in. He'd just have to offer his excuses and lay off the baby oil. The situation wasn't at all helped by the fact that his present storyline ran him into Sheamus, the whitest guy in the world. The opalescent skin of his current kayfabe enemy was going to make the disastrous outcome even more noticeable. With nothing more than a shrug he decided that all he could do was turn up and let them all do their worst. He might get pulled from TV but worse things had happened, that much he did know.
He'd had quite the adventure making it back out of the hotel, deliberately missing the bus to the arena after ordering late room service. Ron had been banging his door down for about ten minutes which, apart from thoroughly ruining any chance of enjoyment he had whilst picking idly at a tuna salad, was really annoying. Eventually he'd assured him that he wouldn't be long, had a car booked and would see everyone at the arena. That gave him a chance of one more soapy shower despite the fact that his skin was close to red raw with all the scrubbing he'd already done.
On his arrival at the arena he noticed how, one by one, all the production hands and road crew were turning away to laugh, some more quietly than others. His intentions to walk through with his head held high were rapidly disintegrating and all he could think to do was get to the locker room as quickly as possible. John thought himself lucky to have made it to catering before anyone of importance noticed him. Once Patterson had eyeballed him, laughed until he'd cried and then ordered John to go straight to make up he realised that that was the tone of the night to come.
Dropping into the make up lady's chair he waited for her to come back from the mobile stores with something that would help to calm his skin and dull it off. It was just his luck though that as he sat there waiting, glad of the chance of concealment in the windowless room, that Sheamus would walk in. John assumed that Sheamus had only called in to have his hair or beard touched up but suspected that he would be at the brunt end of the Irishman's ribbing before anyone could come back to save him from it.
"What ya been bathin' in there, John? When ya ask 'em for two coats can ya make sure it's not varnish they're to be sprayin' on?"
John kept his glare fixed on the mirror ahead, glad of the trademark shades that hid the scowl that his eyes were participating in. It came to something when Sheamus felt on safe enough ground to start throwing out the skin colour jibes. The taller man stood behind the revolving chair and rested his hands on the leather padded backrest that was worn and covered in various greasy stains.
"Look, I had a bit of a problem and I'm busy getting something done about it. Can't you cut me some slack?"
"Slack? Hell no, fella. I'm sure you're the same as the rest of the lads. All for running about the place calling me yer petty names and I'm not passing up a chance to do ya the same favour. Hope your skin's as thick as it is tangerine lad. Sure, you're puttin' the fire of me pretty red locks to shame with that colour."
Sheamus knew that his tone was bound to get under the mahogany skin of his colleague. He'd become well versed in the art of the snide comment considering he'd been hearing them long since before he'd been able to talk. His mother had endured all manner of comments about the 'little red one' that had grown into the 'young red lad' and finally into 'Big Red himself'. It seemed only just that when he had the chance to give some stick back, especially to the people that liked to rib him whenever they could, he'd do it and do it well.
"Sheamus, please. I just want to be left-"
"Precious little John, now you know just how it feels to be made a show of for the colour of yer skin," Sheamus ran his fingers over the firm shoulder a few inches from where his hand was rested. "And it's a crime that ya still look so good even if they turned ya the colour of the furniture in me mother's hallway. Mind, I always did like the touch of somethin' firm against me fingers, like solid wood."
The last words dripped with sleaze and suggestion and even though he wasn't sure just what they truly meant John still felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. In his rather elaborately bejewelled and furry ring gear there was a twitch and a tingle but he had to stop himself from laughing at the comparison he'd been subjected to. What really stopped him was the thought that it'd been a long time since he'd heard anyone pay him a compliment, no matter how backhanded, and an even longer one since anyone had touched his skin so gently.
"So I'm like some kind of umbrella stand? Well it's good to know that you're as smooth a talker out of the ring as you are in it."
John shifted in the chair and pulled the shades down to the end of his nose, the motion only serving to accompany the self satisfied grin that sat on his lips. He was using his usual defence of smart answers and overstated self confidence to fend away anything that might be lowering his carefully constructed defences. He caught Sheamus' eye as he stared at him through the wall-wide mirror and slowly shook his head.
"Oh, yer much more than that Morrison. You'd be the Welsh dresser that me mother always looked after the most cos she liked it the best. It was the showpiece, the bit that all the family staked a claim for even though she's still alive now. The one thing she always wanted and once she'd got it, well, she never let anyone else near it."
In his own mind Sheamus wasn't sure where he was going with what he had to say. It had seemed a perfect opportunity to wind John up, to get a reaction out of him and then walk away with the upper hand. The problem was that the upper hand didn't feel quite like it should. The feel of the tanned skin against his fingertips had been more pleasurable than he thought it would or could be, his intentions subtly changing when he'd not been swatted away. Trailing his large fingers down over John's collarbone Sheamus felt confident enough to push his luck, pressing firmly as the palm of his hand came to rest over the firm muscle and erect nipple on the right hand side of John's chest.
"Sheamus, what do you think you're doing?"
As he turned his head to the side John felt the other pale hand reaching around and taking his shades off, casually dumping them on the shelf in front of the row of chairs, the mass of make up brushes and body products acting as a cushion as they dark glasses fell. That hand then laced itself into his hair and held his head steady as Sheamus brought his head down, pink lips glistening as they came into contact with John's.
The kiss was awkward at first, John frozen like a rabbit in the headlights, unsure what had brought him the physical attentions of the bigger man and similarly unsure as to whether or not it was attention that he really wanted. What started to defrost him was the tenderness with which the kiss proceeded. He wasn't being choked or dominated, he could breathe and kiss back, be part of what was going on rather than the pretty prostitute who'd said 'no kissing' and got ignored anyway. All the other guys in the business had made him what they wanted rather than what he wanted to be. He was a plaything rather than an equal and it hadn't taken him long to put a stop to such activities, choosing to lapse into a pattern of occasional self-love than be passed around until only those who were already paired off were carnal strangers to him.
Before he realised what had happened he'd reached his hand up and curled his fingers around the back of the Irishman's thick neck, pulling him closer and confirming his involvement in their kiss. When the hand on his chest started to drift lower his breathing stopped momentarily; it had been quite some time since the digits that swept across his abs had been anyone's but his own. He shifted sideways in the chair to give Sheamus more room for manoeuvre.
Sheamus was glad of the change of position but was struggling inside his own head to rationalise just how they'd gotten to that stage so quickly. He wasn't usually so confident or so forward, the rejections coming thick and fast through most of his life. It was hard to believe that his lips were capturing and caressing those of one of the most attractive and alluring men on the roster, someone he'd dismissed as out of his limited league about ten minutes after they first met.
He had subconsciously let his hand slide lower and wasn't really sure what he was doing. In the past he'd experienced the disappointment of his hand heading south of the border to find nothing there but soft flesh and gathered material and the last thing he wanted to do was to repeat that with a man who was the top of everyone's hit list. The nerves got the better of him and he pulled his hand away, slowly breaking the kiss and standing back up straight, looking down at a confused and flushed John.
"Did I... did I do something wrong? I mean, I didn't really do much, but."
The words tumbled out of John's lips before he had a chance to stop them, his neediness needling him as he heard his own voice echoing back at him from the walls of the small room. He didn't see that he could've done anything wrong but he had to try and take the blame, it was usually his fault according to the other guys that had tossed him aside.
"Fella, you did nothing I didn't like. Me on the other hand, well now that's a different matter. I shouldn't be all over ya, it's hardly fair now. Last week I'm sure you were out in the bar with the others calling me all the ginger names under the sun. This week I half get me own back and then end up pressed face first down on ya. Now I can't say I didn't like it but anyhow, I'm not sure you want ta get yerself mixed up with a bad luck charm like me."
Leaving the words hanging heavy in the air Sheamus couldn't think of anything else to say to pad out the lie. There was no chance on earth he could admit the truth and confess that his confidence was shot to shit and he was struggling to believe that he wouldn't end up on a disciplinary or a criminal charge for assault after the kiss had ended. Nobody in their right mind would buy that John Morrison, the one and only John Morrison, was attracted to the big pale fella. It was easier to shrug it all off and walk away than be rejected and ridiculed.
He recoiled as John moved in the chair, expecting a punch or a string of barbed words to accompany it. Instead he watched the lithe and flexible body twist until it was knelt up in the chair. With a swift and familiar motion the glossy dark hair was brushed aside and draped over one shoulder and Sheamus daren't move a muscle as he stared, mesmerised absolutely by the automatic movement. Sensing that he wasn't going to get tagged or abused he let himself relax a little and the curled cornered grin he usually reserved for his better promos started to split his face.
"So Irish, how's about you hold that thought and we'll grab a beer after the show. I got a suite thanks to the hotel losing my booking and flashing my belly at the receptionist. Kinda big for just one of me..."
John had taken to gripping the back of the chair to hide the tremble in his hands. There was no way he'd have asked Sheamus out if the kiss hadn't already been shared between them. His position was also useful for hiding the swollen state of the crotch of his pants, something he wanted to conceal in case it might make him seem even more desperate than in reality he might be. Looking at Sheamus he imagined nothing more than running his lips over the alabaster skin and seeing just what lurked beyond the barrier of the worst designed trunks in the business. He couldn't help but hope that 'Laoch' meant 'huge'.
"You're on. I was gonna share with Santino again but he's got himself a date tonight. Won't tell me who but the smart money has to be on Koz. I'd be glad a' the company."
Sheamus found himself leaning forward with the intentions of kissing John again, only to be interrupted by the chatter outside the door that was soon followed by the lock clicking open and the make up woman re-entering with various jars and tubs of products. She idly checked the back of them and then dumped them in a nearby chair before considering beginning her work. He nodded at her as he took a step back, forcing a fake laugh as if the two had done nothing more than share a friendly joke.
"You're early for a change. Anyway, I haven't time to dip dye you today honey, seems like our friend here went to the French polisher's rather than the tanning salon. Or was that saloon? I have no idea," She checked the goatee beard that obscured Sheamus' chin before stepping off to the side and grabbing one of the larger tubs. "Now I think you're good to go tonight so I'm done with you. Just don't forget your dry oil or you're gonna look horrible. John, I'm gonna need you to go shower for me sweetie, this is the only thing I can suggest. Let it soak in for ten, get dry and come back, ok?"
Reaching out John took the tub she was forcing into his hands and hopped out of the chair, making sure to turn his body to keep the significant protrusion in his groin area obscured.
"I'm gonna go shower. I need to try and tone this disaster down before my entrance. Nothing's gonna look good in slow motion huh? You want to come have a roll in the water as I wash it off Sheamus? That's got to get you a bit of colour at least."
The look that took the make up lady's perfectly shaped eyebrows skyward was enough to make Sheamus' grin pull wider to the point where his face started to hurt. He was fairly sure that John's invitation wasn't serious but at least he was reassured that any past tormenting wasn't either.
"Fella, ya just too orange for me pale Irish ways. Go scrub yerself down and come talk to me again when you've a spare pair a' them fancy glasses for me to protect me delicate eyes."
With his usual deft-stepped gait John slid past them both and off towards the locker room. In the quiet of the hallway he couldn't help but to shake his head as he walked along, wondering just what that drink later on might lead to. All he could think about was the way the kiss had left him feeling and that his curiosity had been well and truly sparked. Maybe it was finally time to take that chance and take one step beyond the pale.
A/N: So there's a bit of light hearted stuff for a change :) Once I knew what I wanted to write I think I enjoyed this :D All reads and reviews appreciated as always!