aarondresden said: I know you really like fivexnine, but would you consider doing any fourxnine?

The first time Nine slaps his ass, John almost decks him.

Granted, it was mostly startled reflex, but going by Nine’s grin he suspects that he’s about to get a little more premeditated.

"What the hell, dude?" he snaps, turning to face Nine and backing up a couple steps.

"What?" asks Nine, innocently. "Just a friendly pop on the butt between friends. Is that so weird?"

"That is most definitely weird," confirms John. "Hands off the merchandise."

"Whatever you say, friend," Nine says cheerfully, and gives him another smack on his way out the door.

———————

The sixth or seventh time, he doesn’t really remember, he glares hard at Nine and says flatly, “I have a girlfriend.”

Nine blinks, and then grins at him, walking up a wall to face him upside down. “I’m pretty sure you are the girlfriend, Johnny.”

John’s Lumen flares.

"Okay, fine, live in denial," says Nine, backing away with his hands in the (wrong-way-up) air.

"Fine by me," says John.

"You can afford to do it, with an ass like that," says Nine, and dodges.

———————

Nine’s breath is bubbling, gurgling, and so many of his bones are broken, and he’s got so much internal bleeding, jesus christ, that John is having trouble healing fast enough.

"Shit," John mutters, fighting down panic. If Marina were here, she could help, but she’s currently hundreds of miles away. "I swear to god, if you leave me alone out here—"

Nine coughs, manages to speak as his punctured lung heals. “Fuckin’ pikens, man, cut me some slack—”

"—if you leave me alone out here," continues John, "Piken or no piken, I’ll tell Ella about your porn collection."

Nine’s eyes widen. “You wouldn’t.”

"I swear to god."

Nine sighs in defeat, his head falling back as he coughs up some more blood. “As long as I get to slap me some of that luscious ass before I go.”

John grimaces. “Seriously, dude, what the hell is it with you and touching my ass? Hold still, the ribs are gonna hurt.”

Nine doesn’t answer; instead, he grits his teeth and weathers the pain.

It’s a while before they’re done and Nine is whole again, by which point they are both exhausted. Nine gets to his feet first, dusting off his pants—rather pointlessly, as they are torn and bloodied and totally ruined—and then clasping John’s hand to pull him upright.

"Look, man," says Nine, palpably awkward. "If you really want me to quit touchin’ your butt—"

His apology is cut off by a yelp when John whacks him in the ass with a blow that has the power of his whole arm behind it.

"Consider us even," he says, and starts jogging off through the wreckage as Nine stares, bewildered, hopeful, and stinging, after him.

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