Many thanks to strangecobwebs for beta. She assures me I'm not the only one who thinks about Johnny and Louis like this, but then again, we're both friends with Dira. We come by it honestly.
This is for abelladonna.
Johnny Johansson had a hockey career, until he didn't. Johnny Johansson had a happy, easy, wonderful marriage, until he didn't. Johnny Johansson was (mostly) content with his life, and it was going (mostly) smoothly and he really did (mostly) believe he was happy.
Only now he wasn't. He didn't have any of that anymore. He was a grown man living in a caboose in the backyard of his house, with a wife who could barely look at him. Lying there on the lumpy couch at night, looking out at the stars through the slit in the curtains, Johnny sometimes thinks - can't help but think - that he's lost everything. That he's been losing all his life. That it had started the day Sigrid left, and kept on going from there.
Sure, he'd met Zoe, and marrying her was one of the happiest days of his life. He tries to think about that, sometimes, think about the two of them fixing up the house with the tiny bit of money they had, which had been fun, you know? Challenging, and they'd been doing it together, making things better a step at a time. He tries to think about that, when he's lying there shivering in the dark. He thinks about the springtime, when Zoe would be all excited about the new birds hatching, and he'd have lots of work, as people suddenly needed his handyman skills to fix up porch swings, tree houses, gardens and picket fences and picnic tables, in preparation for the summer. Enough work so that he'd have extra money, could bring Zoe home little gifts (candy, a toy bird that chirped a melody, a new scarf that exactly matched the color of her eyes when she was in sunshine).
He tries, but it's hard to have perspective in a cold, dark caboose.
He sighs, and twists on the narrow sofa, punching at the pillow under his head. The wind is loud tonight, whipping along the walls outside, rattling the outside door, and it takes Johnny a few minutes to hear the tapping that has a rhythm to it. He blinks into the darkness for a second before rolling off the couch to his feet, padding across the floor, feeling the cold of it even through his thick socks.
He nudges the door open with his shoulder, his hands tucked under his arms to keep his fingers from freezing. Lou's outside on the steps, wearing a coat so huge and thick, Johnny can barely tell who it is. But the quick smile and the tilt of the head is all Lou. "I know it's late," is all Lou says.
Johnny casts a quick look over at the house, where a light is still on in their - Zoe 's - bedroom, and tugs Lou inside. With Lou in the narrowness of the caboose, the whole place seems warmer, somehow. Johnny rubs the back of his head. "Not too late," he says. "I was - " He gestures lamely at the sofa with its rumpled blankets, squished-up pillow. "I was up."
Lou nods quickly, looking at him in the dark. "I thought you might be. Figured I'd take a chance."
Johnny nods, shivers, and Lou glances down. "You're going to freeze your feet off."
"Yeah," says Johnny, looking down himself and shifting from foot to foot.
Lou laughs and nudges Johnny with his shoulder. "Sit."
Johnny feels his breath catch in his throat, and turns to climb back on the couch, tucking his feet up under him. It feels sometimes like he does everything wrong with everyone, but with Lou, it's always easy. With Lou, he doesn't have to worry so much, try so hard.
Lou slings his giant coat over the chair in the corner before sitting down on the couch with Johnny. "Couldn't sleep?" he asks, his voice soft. He's bent over, unlacing his boots, sliding them off his feet.
"No, I - " Johnny has to stop, swallow, when Lou sits back, his whole side pressed up warm against Johnny's. "Too cold."
Lou nods, and reaches to tug at the blanket that's trailing onto the floor, tugging it up over the both of them. "Better?" His eyes are bright in the darkness.
Johnny shivers, not from cold. "Yeah," he manages.
Lou frowns. "You're still cold."
"No, I'm - " Johnny's words are stopped by Lou shifting further sideways on the couch, leaning in, and tugging Johnny close with one hand, warm on his shoulder. Then Lou's lips are pressed softly against his, kissing him and Johnny shudders again, the warmth from the kiss flooding through his body.
"Better?" Lou's breath is warm against Johnny's lips.
"Yeah." Johnny shifts on the couch, lying back, Lou following him down. "Yeah," Johnny says again, softly, as Lou settles up against him, easily. Johnny's warm now, so warm, and he tilts his head, searching for Lou's mouth again. "Better."
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