You can see it in the ring, more than anything. There's not a move he won't try, a risk he won't take, a bump he won't throw himself into. He's not out there to win a match, he's out there to win immortality.
I asked him about it once, and he told me that I couldn't possibly understand. My career is already legendary, and all I have left to do is give the people plenty to talk about after I'm gone. Jeff still has to make sure they talk about him at all.
He's amazing with fans, but he doesn't seem to realize it. A slow smile, a quick joke, and a scribbled autograph and he turns to me. "Was that OK?" he whispers. "I couldn't think of anything to say."
"You don't need to say anything, Jeff. They're fans. They just want to meet you."
Jeff stares at me doubtfully. "I just want them to remember me."
As if there was any chance of them forgetting.
He's a tornado in bed, with prismatic strands of hair sticking to the sweat on his temples, cheekbones and jaw. It's easy to forget how tall Jeff is, but he's a legitimate 6'1" and uses every inch of it. Long legs splay at angles that I would be concerned about if he gave me time to think, and his eyes roll wildly just before he shudders and releases.
When I follow him over the edge, my vision shatters into jagged rainbow-colored crystals, blurry around the edges. It feels like years before I can remember to breathe again.
It's enough to make me never want to leave him alone, which usually works out for the best. He's fought his demons and cut out the drug use, but that doesn't mean he doesn't find ways to get into trouble when he's left for too long. Sometimes he sleeps for 20 hours straight, lounging in a tree in his yard, soaking up the fresh air. Sometimes he disassembles my refrigerator for an art project. It's really a crap shoot.
Mostly, though, I find him curled up on the floor, paging through comic books, listening to rock stars, surrounding himself with larger than life images. It's not indulgence so much as training, picking up tips on how to step into the lives of people he's never met. Anyone who has ever doubted his future in this business hasn't seen his face in moments like that.
There aren't many things in life as perfect as watching Shawn Michaels wrestle.
He plays it down when he's with me. He knows I'm a huge fan, that I idolized him before I even got in the business, and that makes him uncomfortable. I can kind of understand it--he let his success in wrestling define him for a long time, and now he's looking for something more.
Something less, he says, half-laughing in that awkward way he has when he's trying to be honest. He's been a legend and a hero and a villain for a decade now, and he's exhausted. For once, he tells me, he'd like to just be some guy on the street.
He can't, of course, he's too good for that. I smile and nod anyway, because it makes him happy.
His smiles are genuine, but so is his initial flinch when a fan recognizes him. It's not hard, despite the bulky coats and nondescript baseball caps he pulls on before going out into public. The charisma comes off of him in waves, and there are times that he hates that. People watching him make him jittery, make him feel like he's supposed to perform a scene when he's never seen the script. Still, he smiles, and signs autographs, and is genuinely grateful for the support. It pales in comparison to the gratitude in his eyes when we finally get some time alone, though.
He takes his time on the rare opportunities that we have it. The hunger's written on his face, but he refuses to rush, enjoying the moments as they come. He likes pissing me off more than anything, watching me squirm, feeling me strain up against him as he pins me to the bed. He wants me annoyed and desperate, not quiet and gentle. I think the fighting lets him know we're equals, and he doesn't have to be scared of hurting me.
Shawn hates violence, which is both odd and understandable given his career. He loves baseball, though, and good movies and bad thriller novels. There's no wrestling memorabilia at his house, just lots of wood furniture and open air. If you didn't know better while you were chatting with him there over coffee cups, you'd almost swear he was a normal guy.
Until you saw him wrestle, of course.
You'd think you'd remember a moment like that forever, wouldn't you? Honestly, I must have missed out on a lot of it, because I've got no idea how I got to the back after the match. I remember the bell and the weirdly blurry belt, and I couldn't see because of all the cameras, and then...nothing, really. I've got a big white-hot noisy blank until it's me and Hunter alone in the locker room.
"I won," I tell him, holding out the belt because I can't think of anything else to say.
"I know," he chuckles, and yanks me forward into a kiss, and I'm so glad he's not mad even though I know how much the belt means to him, but this was really my time to prove myself and--
And he's not mad at all, judging by the bulge pressing into my lower stomach. I push my hips forward, adding some pressure, and he grins against my mouth, grabbing my hips to pull me even tighter. The belt is smashed between us, and its edges are cutting into my chest, so I toss it onto the couch as I reach up to wrap my arms around Hunter's neck.
He pulls back, though, catching my wrists to stop me, and shakes his head. "This is your night, Champ," he insists, pushing me gently backwards until I drop onto the couch. He picks up the discarded belt beside me and deliberately places it over my stomach, then drops to his knees. I'm still breathing hard from the match, but my blood switches direction and heads downward, making me a little lightheaded as he tugs my boots and pants off.
My hand tangles in his hair as his mouth slides over just the head of my cock, his tongue sweeping back and forth across the tip. Our eyes meet, and he lays one hand flat against the belt, holding it still as my hips automatically start to buck towards his warmth.
Hunter's moving slow tonight, but it isn't a tease; he's increasing speed with every pass, building towards what feels like an epic orgasm. I lift my hips insistently, careful not to push down on his head, but he gets the message and pressed forward, smiling to himself as he slides down my shaft. The smile bares his teeth, and they scrape lightly on the way down. The soft pain penetrates all the way into my muscles, blending with the ache of exhaustion from the match. I'm starting to doubt my ability to hold out, so I push him away, sliding off the couch to kneel beside him.
"Inside," is about all I can manage to growl, but he gets the idea, moving behind me as I lean forward over the couch. The belt is still there, and I can feel the rough leather slide against my slick cock as Hunter presses forward, one hand on my shoulder blade to keep his balance. The burn as he enters is perfect, and although I'd like to wait and come as he does, my endurance is shot. He feels me tighten up and murmurs something incomprehensible but encouraging as he yanks my hair, twisting my neck to one side and laying a soft kiss right under my ear.
And then I give in, and I'm right back in that blurry, roaring blankness, but this time it's just a little familiar and I've got Hunter here with me, his arms wrapped around me as I shudder. I think I could get used to this.
"Quite a night."
Chris is staring at me speculatively, but I don't think I want to know why. "Yeah. Good for Jeff."
That catches him a little off-guard, but he nods anyway. "He deserved it."
"Yeah, he did. I tried to congratulate him earlier, but I don't think he even heard. I'll call him later, after Hunter's through with him."
"That could take a while," Chris chuckles. "And it could take longer for Jeff to come down from his cloud. You remember your first championship?"
I do, but I don't want to discuss it now, so I shrug and flip through some more TV channels.
"I mean that it was quite a night for you," Chris clarifies after a short silence. He's not going to let this go, so I turn off the TV with a sigh and roll over on the bed to face him.
"You turned heel. That doesn't bother you?"
I shrug. "That's the business. Sometimes you get the love, sometimes you have to take the hate."
"You don't," Chris insists. "You're perma-over. You could shill your merchandise up there for the next twenty years and people would still cheer you."
"And why the hell would I want that?" I ask, my voice more brittle than I expected. "You're the one who pointed out that they cheer me for shit other people get booed for. It's not because they like me, it's not because they respect what I'm doing, it's just because they're used to it."
Chris chews his lower lip as he frowns. "That was just a storyline."
"That doesn't make it not true."
"They cheer you because you've earned it, Shawn. Because they've grown up watching you sacrifice for them. Because you're a--"
"Legend, yeah, you've said that before," I interrupt sarcastically. He starts to pull back, and I instantly regret my tone. Reaching out, I catch his wrist, dragging him backwards until he's sprawled across the bed with me on top of him. "Chris..." I kiss him softly, stalling for time as I try to figure out a way to explain it. "I don't want to be admired now for things I've done in the past, or just because they like me. I want to do the right things now, and have people who respect me enough to call me out when I'm fucking it up."
Chris considers that seriously, his hands absently running up my thighs below my boxer shorts as he thinks. "I can't do both?" he finally asks. "I can't love who you are and still want you to do the right thing?"
I'm tempted to argue the point further, but his hands are still moving and they're becoming very distracting. "You might be the exception," I concede.
He can see the heat in my eyes and grins, his own eyes sparkling as he grabs my hips, pulling me closer. "Speaking of things I want you to do..."
I laugh as I twist to one side, rolling him on top of me. We kiss, and he reaches for the lube while I ditch my shorts. It's amazingly natural, not having to worry about maintaining an image or living up to expectations. For once, I can just focus on what I'm feeling.
And what I'm feeling is good, as Chris presses forward between my legs. I spread them wider, giving him better access, and push back against him. He pops through the ring of muscle and slides in a few inches, and we both freeze, panting and waiting for our bodies to adjust to the overwhelming sensations.
After a few breaths, Chris wraps his lube-slippery hand around my cock, making me buck up against him almost violently. He moans and sinks the rest of the way into me, shuddering as his balls press against my ass.
"God, Shawn--" he starts, but I'm done talking now, and roll my hips to prove my point. He takes the hint and pulls back, sliding forward and immediately drawing, picking up speed as he thrusts.
We move with each other well, sweat-soaked sheets twisting beneath us. Chris doesn't slow down, and I consider flipping us back over and taking over the pace when the head of his cock finds my prostate, sending sparks of electricity to my fingers and toes. I can't even breathe for a second, and Chris' next stroke hits the exact same place. My body stiffens and my hands clench in the sheets. He's too far gone now to stop, and I can hear him yell as orgasm hits us at the same time, sending the world spiraling down into blackness.
I can't tell how long it is before Chris rolls off me, keeping one arm draped over my chest. "Wow," is the most coherent thought I can manage to articulate.
Chris groans his agreement, nuzzling into the side of my neck.
"Does that count as legendary, too?" I tease lightly, still trying to catch my breath.
Chris snorts, burrowing closer to me. For a moment, I don't think he's going to answer at all, but he finally forces out a whispered "Better" before drifting into sleep.
I can live with that.