Notes and disclaimers: Without A Trace and Sports Night and every character herein are not mine nor my property. No profit to be garnered ever by me. Happy birthday, Jess! Thanks to Mosca and SA, Tigs, Dine and Mosca again. Title from Ryan Adams, of course.




THE ONE TO WALK YOU HOME




Dan shaves in the bathroom but he doesn't look behind the mirror. It's a little cliché. It's a little too intimate. Which is a funny thing to think after spending the night with someone in every sense of the phrase. The last person he slept with more than once, he always looked behind the mirror. After six months, he was still looking back behind every curtain, trying to understand why he was there.

Because this is the way of partners, Dan thinks. This is one more moment he won't be sharing at all with Casey.

"This is early for you, isn't it?" Even just awake, Danny's smiling, leaning against the door.

"Very early. There was a time, there was a time I didn't have to be at work until noon."

"And now?" Danny's moved into the bathroom, standing behind Dan, pulling back the shower curtain.

"The obscene hour of eleven. And I'm still getting off work at midnight. That can't be fair." Dan slips back to the door so Danny can do his morning thing. Everyone has a morning thing, Dan thinks. He could tell Casey that. But it might open up questions as to why Dan was thinking of it. He shakes his head.

"How much you make per hour?"

"Check with my agent, because it's not enough."

"More than me." Danny starts the shower and steps in.

Dan thinks he'll be tired all day at work, not enough sleep at all, up too early. But he's riding that wave of just got laid, pretty sure this one will call again. But no one notices. Dana stares at him in the first rundown until he says, "What, Dana?"

"Have you thought about growing out your hair?" She twirls her pen and squints at him.

"No, I have not thought about growing out my hair. Out to what, Dana? You think I should try the Johnny Damon look?"

"God, no." She stands up and says, "Just maybe a little longer. It would look good on you, Danny."

"Dana thinks I should grow my hair so I look like Johnny Damon," Dan tells Casey as he walks into the office.

"Dana's insane." Casey doesn't stop typing. "You were out last night, all night, and didn't tell me."

Dan sits down on the couch and thinks. This is not that moment. He says, "I never tell you. You get jealous of my success."

"You never have success. You fail constantly. You went, what, a year between girlfriends? Isn't it two years now?"

Because Dan never admitted to the one before Danny, so Casey is way behind the score now. "I don't tell you a lot of things, Casey."

Casey stops typing. "Now why is that, Dan? Because when we conceal, bad things happen. You know this."

"No, bad things happen when you conceal things from Natalie. Nothing bad happens when I keep things from you." Dan gets up from the couch and goes to the table. He opens his laptop. "I'll tell you about this one. At some point that is not now. Because now? We have basketball."

Casey stares at his screen and starts typing again. "Sweet sweet basketball. I tell you, Danny, there is no greater month than March."

"None at all, Casey. Except for October."

Casey says, "Point. Excellent point. March and October."

Dan types nonsense for a moment while he thinks about how Casey doesn't push and what that means.

*

Sam comes toward Danny and sits down next to him at the table. "Phone records," she mutters.

He pushes half of his pile over to her and smiles. She smirks back at the gift. She says, "Are you going to tell me about this one?"

"This one?" He keeps his eyes on the numbers in front of him.

"You've got that look. You could tell me about him."

Sam knows because she saw once, someone way before Dan. Danny bets Viv suspects, too. It doesn't worry him. He passed the bar last year. He's pretty sure that if someone at the FBI decides to care about who he takes home, he can start his own practice and have himself for his first client. Sam isn't going to be the one who cares that way.

Danny says, "You're assuming."

"I'm guessing," she says. She leans back, smiling. "Come on."

"It's been three weeks, there's nothing to tell."

"Three weeks, though. That's something." She folds his pile over hers and starts looking.

"It's three weeks." Chances of Dan ever telling even his best friend something was happening? Next to nothing. Danny doesn't have his hopes up. It's passing the time in a pleasant fashion. Very pleasant. He could tell Sam that. But he just concentrates on his phone numbers.

The doorman at Dan's apartment building recognizes Danny now. He doesn't raise an eyebrow or wink or wonder why Dan has men coming over who stay the night. He must tip well.

They eat and they have sex or they have sex and they eat, it's not a bad deal. Lying on the couch, Danny says, "You bribe your doorman to keep him quiet?"

Dan looks up confused and then says, "Ah. No. It's not like anyone's sniffing around trying to find out who comes over. And if they were sniffing, it wouldn't be your smell they'd be after. Plus, things aren't that black and white."

"Is this your way of telling me you date women, too?" Danny almost laughs.

"I do, and so do you, so I fail to see where that's funny." Dan doesn't look offended. He does pull his little Orioles blanket closer to his stomach.

"It's not funny, it's your way of saying it."

"I talk funny? You think I talk funny?"

"Don't you get paid to talk funny?" Danny nudges the blanket down. Dan is a very pale man. "Who's the last person your doorman knew well enough to wave in?"

"Because?"

"Hey, just wondering. I'm an investigator, I investigate. Curiosity is a job requirement."

Dan frowns. "Even on your off time?"

"It's a fault, I know. You don't have to answer." Danny's already distracted by the white of Dan's hip against the rug, under the blanket.

"Her name was Sally."

Danny doesn't react but he looks away from the floor where Dan is sitting. "Sally?"

"Sally. If you knew the whole story, you'd be very surprised. The whole story is for six months last year I was sleeping with Sally Sasser, who had previously slept with Casey McCall and also Gordon, fiance of Dana Whitaker."

"Busy lady."

"No lady at all." Dan shakes his head. "I hated Sally Sasser for a very long time. She got a new job, I didn't see her. Met her at a Knicks game, we went out for a drink and insults, ended up here. Over and over again. And sometimes there. Here and there."

Danny weighs what he knows so far of Dan and finds himself thinking like it's a case. The question that matters is plain: "You ever tell Casey?"

"God, no. But that's only one thing on a very long list. When it comes to Casey, what he doesn't know doesn't hurt him."

Dan stands up and the blanket's gone. He says, "Still curious?"

Danny reaches forward, his wrists pressing against Dan's soft hips. "Not about that right now."

*

Dana says, "Casey, Casey. You should be seeing someone. You should be dating."

"I am dating," Casey says. "I had a date last night. You saw her. And you're only bothering me because your date last night was a spectacular failure."

"And you're both bothering me right now." Dan's head is this close to exploding.

Dana skitters over to stand behind Dan. "Casey, I think someone's hung over."

"And why you two aren't is a crime against the universe." All of them were crammed into the office last night, watching the NCAA Championship game. Triple overtime, quadruple beers. And Dana can still screech away in his ear.

Casey says, "Danny's seeing someone, but he won't tell me about it."

"I wouldn't tell you either, Casey." Dana stands up and says, "Rundown soon, guys. So get to work." And she's finally gone.

"Can you believe that guy?"

"More specific, Casey." Dan keeps typing.

"Dana's so-called date. Bored after twenty minutes. With one of the finest games of college basketball I have seen in years. Leaves before the first overtime." Casey shakes his head. "She's just trying to make me jealous."

"Please, no. You and Dana are done. Ruled out. Please, Casey, I beg you, do not resurrect that drama." Dana's dated Sam Donovan, Calvin Traygar, and a bevy of other losers. Casey's dated fourteen perfect blonde women with immense white teeth, none of whom he liked enough to introduce to Charlie. Dan is so over this.

"Okay, let's move on to your drama. We're now on the second mysterious person you refuse to tell me about. But are still spending night after night with, when you're not here watching one of the finest games of college basketball I have seen in years." Casey stands up because he wants to make a point. Dan knows this without looking up. If he's lucky, Casey will sit back down.

"Casey, you invent these things in your tiny square head."

"No, I do not. Danny, you can tell me."

Dan is never lucky. He says, "Casey, you already know." Because he does. Dan knows he does: Casey's not stupid.

Casey sits down and says, "No."

Jeremy comes in and tells them about the winning coach resigning already, and they get back to work.

*

"Her brother-in-law, sister's husband, plays for the New York Yankees." Jack stares at the picture of Veda Miguel. "Maybe a kidnapping? Thinking he'll put up the ransom?"

Danny leans back in his chair and says, "I know someone. On the sports angle. Let me make a call."

Jack nods. Danny steps out into the hallway and calls Dan. "Hey, you got a minute?"

Dan's quiet and then, "Sure. What's up?"

"I have a question for you, on a professional basis. Which means, it's not news. You okay with that?"

"Okay." The background noise behind Dan gets louder and then it's gone. He's stepped into a hallway, too, probably. Danny realizes he's never seen Dan's office. He can't picture it.

"Seriously, ongoing investigation, all of that. I'm asking you because I know you. So no being a reporter, here, okay?"

"Got it. Ask away."

They manage to find her before midnight so Danny can meet Dan. He even brings flowers. Dan laughs at them. "Was I that helpful?" Dan looks up then and says, "Everything's okay, right?"

Veda endangered her life, her sister's and her two nieces', but she made it out alive. Danny nods. "That's all you get. But thank you, you were helpful."

"Cracked the case with my locker room gossip, did I?" Dan almost blushes as he opens the door.

"You weren't that helpful. Sorry. Phone records and bank accounts cracked the case, but you still helped." Danny sprawls on the couch. "You have a great couch."

"Was that a hint?" Dan puts the flowers on a table and walks over. He's already taking off his tie. "Hey, but that nod meant everything was okay, right? No one got hurt?"

"No one got hurt." Two families destroyed, three guys heading to jail, and the woman behind it goes back to living with her sister in a brownstone in Manhattan.

"Yeah, your expression makes that so believable." Dan sits down next to him and touches Danny's neck. "You could tell me."

"I really can't." Danny can taste gin in his mouth and the want of it so he sits forward and kisses him.

The next day is quiet for once. Sam leans over shared sandwiches at the table and says, "So, you have a sports contact. Sports guy." She smiles. "Sports gal?"

"Anonymous source," he says, smiling back.

"Good info, though. Come on, Danny." She looks like she's enjoying herself for once. "How long with this one, a month so far? Longer?"

"Two months," he says, shaking his head. "Probably won't last, though. Don't get your hopes up."

"Is he a bad guy?"

He thinks about playing the pronoun game, but Sam's figured something out, so it's pointless. "Nope. Just not gonna last."

*

Somewhere in the dead of afternoon, Casey busts out with, "Danny, I know you think I can't handle the truth or something insane like that, but I really can."

"Are we still talking about your plan to date Annika Sorenstam now that she's single? Because, seriously, Casey, she'll break you in half. She hates you."

"No, we're not."

"Ah."

Casey stands up and sits on the couch. "You can talk to me."

"Okay."

"This is the part where you talk, Danny." Casey sounds tired. "You don't have to protect me, you don't have to assume I'm stupid or naive. I know there are things you don't tell me and I think I even know why. And you can. Danny, I know things with you aren't black or white."

It's so, he never thought Casey could even say it. Dan says, "More like black and white, right?"

Casey says, "Right." He sounds so serious, his talking to Charlie voice. If Dan could look up, maybe Casey'd even be nodding. If Dan looks up, he'll cry or run. Casey says, "So you're seeing someone. For about two months."

Dan nods. Casey's still in his explain to Charlie about bad things voice. "You could introduce me to him."

Dan shrugs. He's not up to picturing Casey and Danny in the same place. He thinks, suddenly, it would be very confusing for Casey, talking to two people he would be addressing as Danny. It's almost funny to imagine. He doesn't want to think about it. He says, "And before that it was Sally."

"Sally?" And Casey's snapped out of the serious voice to crazy high pitched like a girl. "My Sally?"

"Gordon's Sally." Dan smiles. "For six months."

"Because you hate me?" Casey stands up and just like that, he's leaning over Dan, in his face. "Seriously, Danny? Are you insane? Was there a period when you went insane in this one specific way and never let me know before? You hate her."

"I seem to recall you weren't too fond of her, either. It was nothing, Casey. But I think you can see why I wasn't telling you the blow by blow."

"I already know the blow by blow, Danny. Are you, is this acting out? Are you five?"

"Sally doesn't really date five year olds, Casey, they can't quite keep up with her." Dan stands up and surprises himself by not falling over. "It wasn't about you, Casey. It was about an attractive woman who wanted to sleep with me that I wanted to sleep with as well. I didn't want it to be about you so I didn't tell you. I already knew she could keep a secret and didn't much mind sleeping with someone who wouldn't take her out with his friends. Which makes me an asshole, but not the first."

Casey stares for a moment, a very long moment. He says, finally, "You shouldn't be with people who make you feel like you have to be an asshole."

Dan takes a deep breath. "I'm not now."

Casey nods. He goes to back to his computer and types a little. Then he says, "You really think Annika Sorenstam hates me?"

"She hates you, Casey."

"Still a very sexy woman. Very sexy, Danny."

Dan shudders. He finds it in himself to say "You're right about that, Casey."

*

When Danny looks down at his watch, it's 12:15 am. He says, "Shit," and walks away from Martin to call Dan. Like an actual boyfriend, he thinks. "Hey," he says when he hears Dan's voice.

"Are you still at work?"

"They play these things called games in a place called Seattle where it's not midnight. Very important games they call play-offs."

"Hey, I'm familiar with the concept." Martin looks over, almost smiling. Then he goes back to trying to get ash off his suit. Martin shouldn't wear such nice suits, Danny thinks. "I was calling to say I'm still at work. But I'm done now. And you're not home anyway, so never mind."

"Come by the office."

Just like that. "Your office. Where your friends are."

"Actually, it's only Casey. Technically, the rest of my friends are at a bar across the street watching the game but Casey's decided Dana throws off his concentration."

Even after the fire and the 20 year old man with track marks like Rafi's and a face like a baby, Danny knows he's about to laugh. "Dana throws off his concentration?"

"New development, old story. Mostly, Casey's realized that Dana's serious about this guy and he's realized it doesn't drive him crazy so he's driving himself crazy." Dan laughs. "Come over and watch the game. There are sandwiches."

Danny considers. Martin looks up and says, "You want to get dinner or you got plans? I'm starving."

Dan says, "Is that my competition?"

"Ha. Fine, I'll come over. I'm your friend, right, we met somewhere, all that?"

There's a pause that makes Danny worry. Dan says, "No. I told him. I told you I told him, and I did tell him."

"No, you said he figured it out and told you and then you guys argued about that Sally girl. Which sounds like nothing got told."

"Close enough."

Danny says, "And that was three weeks ago, man. You're going from two sentences, never discussed again, to oh, and here's the guy."

"Believe it or not," Dan says, "That's actually probably the best way to do it when it comes to Casey."

"Okay. See you in twenty." Dan walks over to Martin. "I do have plans, man. Catch you tomorrow."

Martin nods. "Fine, ditch me for the new girl." He smiles, though, as he walks to his car.

Dan meets him at the elevator. Danny's looking around to see who else is there and Dan is already walking forward, hugging him. "You smell like smoke."

"There was a fire." Danny pulls back and notes that the office looks dark. "No one's here."

"Not until 5 a.m. Game should be over by then." Dan grins. "You want the tour? It's halftime."

Dan chatters about the studio, points out where everyone sits, tells a long story about Jeremy and Y2k prep. He stops at the end of that one and says, "I missed some of that, though. I was at my shrink."

Danny leans over the desk and looks at the blank monitors. "Shrinks are good ideas for nearly everyone, man. Why don't you go anymore?"

Dan looks down. "I don't know. Maybe I should."

It's never good to push. Danny says, "My sponsor says you might not be the greatest choice for me."

"You tell your sponsor?"

"With more than two sentences, Dan."

"Okay," Dan says. "What's wrong with me?"

"I get my tour of the studio when everyone's gone, Dan. That's a part of it." Danny starts to walk out of the studio. "Don't worry, I don't agree with him."

Dan doesn't say anything as they walk to his office. The lights are on inside and Danny can hear Casey shouting at the screen.

Dan grabs his arm and says, "Why don't you agree with him?"

Danny shrugs. "I'm happy with things. You make me laugh. My sponsor's hung up on this idea of where we should go, but where we are is pretty good. I used to think we had an expiration date, now I don't. That works for me. One day at a time," and he almost laughs as he says it. "Works for you, right?"

In the light from the office, Dan's face is all pits and shadows, angles and planes. "We probably have an expiration date. I mean, you've met me, right?"

"You don't act like you think that. Come on, we've missed half the game."

Casey has a nervous smile and the first thing he says is, "Okay, two Dannys. I'm gonna have to assign code names." He holds up a beer and says, "Want one? We have hidden imported ones."

Danny shakes his head. "No, water's great."

It's a good game. First round of commercials, Casey looks up from his notepad and notes and says, "I can't believe you're rooting for the Sonics."

Dan holds up his hands. "I know that wasn't addressed to me. My heart belongs to the Jazz."

"Because you enjoy saying Carlos Boozer on the air."

Dan nods. Danny says, "Never liked Utah."

"You're holding a grudge against an entire state? Letting that stop you from rooting for the legacy of Stockton and Malone?" Casey looks appalled.

Danny says, "I am." He sips his water. Dan's switched to water, too. "I had a friend who worked in Seattle for a while. Said it was a nice city. He took a picture of the first Starbucks."

The game starts again and Danny's off the hot seat until the commercials start. Casey keeps looking at him, at Dan, then back to the game. Danny wonders how much of his notes are just doodles.

This time, Casey asks, "Being an FBI agent is dangerous, isn't it? I mean, have you been shot?"

Dan rolls his eyes and starts to say something. Danny says, "Shot four times. Stabbed a few more. Hit on the head. And most of that was when I was working for the FBI." It shuts Casey up which Danny finds funny.

The Sonics win in overtime and Casey and Dan do their sports talk for another ten minutes as they clean up the office. Dan says, "And now home, right?"

Casey blinks and offers his hand to Danny again. "It was nice to meet you, Agent Danny. Hope we get to do this again."

"Same here," Danny says. Dan drives them back to his apartment and Danny washes the smoke out of his hair.

THE END.

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