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Snowstorms and Other Forces of Nature

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They were sitting in Anthony's, drinking and laughing and celebrating their rise to second place in the ratings, when Natalie looked outside and said, "Whoa, it's coming down pretty hard out there."

Casey set down his beer and turned in his chair. Big white flakes filled the air, swirling so fast in the wind that it almost looked like it was snowing sideways. "The weather guy on WNBC did say something about a winter storm watch."

"No one is happier than I am that the show's doing well," Dan said, "but if we get snowed in here with only liquor and peanuts to sustain us, someone's going to die."

"Probably me," acknowledged Jeremy.

Everyone started gathering coats, but it took a while to settle the tabs, and by the time Casey made it outside, Natalie and Jeremy were piling into a cab and waving goodbye as they cuddled together in the back seat. Casey flagged down the last cab in sight as Dana almost tripped out the door, Dan reaching out to steady her.

"I need a cab," she said.

Dan finished buttoning Dana's coat after pushing her fingers away. "Yes, you do. I think you had a few too many cosmos."

"I was celebrating!"

"We all need to get home, and before too long, the snow's going to be pretty damn thick on the ground," Casey said. "Why don't you guys just come to my place? Give the snowplows time to start working. Worst case, you spend the night and catch a cab in the morning."

"Casey, you know I hate not sleeping in my own bed."

"Yes, Dana, I'm well aware of your many quirks. But you can either spend the night in my guest room, or you can freeze to death and not thaw out until spring."

The cab driver rolled down the passenger side window. "You getting in or what?"

"Get in," Casey said. "We can finish arguing about it in the cab, where there's a heater."

***

Dana ceased to hold up her end of the argument by passing out. Casey propped her up against his shoulder and let Dan pay the driver when they arrived at Casey's apartment. Between the two of them they maneuvered her out of the cab, and Casey carried her to the elevator.

"Where are your keys?" Dan asked.

"Pants pocket, right-hand side."

Dan looked at him skeptically, and after considering his scarf and his coat, Casey eased Dana into Dan's arms and burrowed through his layers of clothing in search of his keys.

They got Dana onto the bed in the guest room and then looked at each other consideringly.

"You know if she wakes up naked, she's going to fire both of us," Dan said, backing slowly away from the bed. "I think discretion is the better part of us not getting our asses kicked."

"We can at least take her shoes off," Casey said. After he did that and covered her with a blanket, he followed Dan out of the room.

"And it's the couch for you," he said, but Dan was already pulling the cushions off and tossing them on the floor. "Go ahead, make yourself at home. Ruin my furniture. It's no problem."

"Casey, I spent thirteen hours at work, two hours in a bar, and twenty minutes wrangling my drunk boss. Your couch will just have to deal with it. Got an extra pillow?"

"Sure," he said, and contented himself with tossing it on Dan's head as he lay stretched out on the couch.

***

As he drifted into consciousness, Casey wasn't sure what woke him up first – the fact that he was curled into a ball so tightly that his muscles were aching, or Dana standing over him saying, "Casey. Casey. Casey."

"What?" he mumbled, and then as his eyes opened, he realized his eyelids were cold. He didn't think his eyelids had ever been cold before.

"Casey, where are your socks? Where are your socks, Casey?"

"Why is it so cold?" He pressed his fingertips to his eyelids to warm them up, and then discovered that his fingertips were like ice cubes compared to his eyelids. "Dana, my eyelids are cold."

She sighed. "I am trapped in your apartment, I have no shoes, and I have the worst hangover I've had since college. I'm stealing eight pairs of your socks." She made a beeline for the chest of drawers on the far wall.

"Power's out, buddy," Dan said, wandering into the room wrapped his coat and the blanket Casey had given him last night.

Dana sat at the foot of the bed and dropped a bundle of socks next to her. "And Tylenol," she said, slipping the first pair on over her foot. "I'm stealing Tylenol."

"Is there any chance the two of you will go away so I can get dressed in everything I own?"

"Not until I'm finished with my socks."

"Tylenol's in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom," Casey said. "Please go."

Dan shut the door behind him, and Casey lay in bed for a few minutes, working up the nerve to get out from under the covers. He decided to make a guerilla dash for his clothes and then climb back into the warm bed and dress there.

He managed to grab a shirt, a sweater, and sweatpants successfully, but Dana's raid on his sock drawer had left everything in disarray, so by the time he dove back under the covers, most of the warmth was gone. It was still better than the room's ambient temperature.

Dana came back in as he was wriggling into the sweatpants. "What are you doing?"

Dan peered over her shoulder. "You look like you're wrestling with your own knees."

"Don't you have homes of your own where the power might be on?"

"The power's out over most of the city. Before we lost the TV, they were calling it the worst storm in twenty-five years." Dan cupped his hands together and blew on them.

"What happened to your gloves?" Casey asked.

"I gave them to Dana," he said at the same time Dana said, "I stole them."

Casey emerged from under the covers to pull his sweater on. His head got stuck in the hole, and Dana had to come over and help pull it down.

"You actually look warm," Dan said, and Casey froze at the sound of danger.

"Good idea," Dana said, and before Casey had figured out a way to protest, Dana was under the covers with him.

"Dana--"

"Casey, do I have to remind you of my situation? I am sleep-deprived, and today, which should be a day of great triumph and rejoicing, is a day when I feel like crap and am stuck in an apartment with my two co-anchors. One of whom is a sock miser."

"I don't think any of us had forgotten that." Casey twitched as she shoved her feet against his leg. "How can your feet still be cold?"

"I think my metabolism is concentrating on burning off all the alcohol. Give me a pillow." She pulled a pillow from under his head, and in the confusion, Casey felt the bed dip again.

"Danny--"

"If you think I'm going to sit on that couch by myself while you two are warm and cozy in here, you're very wrong. Give me one of those stupid fancy pillows your decorator made you buy."

Casey gave up and fished on the floor for another pillow. He was already feeling warmer with the additional body heat. Warmer and sleepier. And maybe this wasn't the way he'd envisioned getting Dana in bed, but there was definitely something to be said for her feet pressing up against him and her head tucked in against his arm. He took a deep breath, the cold air a little bit of a shock to his lungs, and let it out. Dana was already asleep.

"Danny?"

Dan's head rustled on the pillow as he turned toward Casey. "Yeah?"

"Is this weird?"

"Any weirder than our normal lives?"

"It's a little weirder than that," said Casey. "I don't share a bed with two other people on a normal day."

"Are you going to complain?"

Casey considered that, along with his eyelids, which were not cold any more. "Maybe later," he said. "I'm too comfortable right now."

"Good. Now shut up so I can go to sleep."

Dan turned on his side, facing away from Casey and Dana, and Casey closed his eyes against the wan gray light coming through his windows.

***

The next time he woke up, Dana was staring at him.

"Hi," she said.

"Hi," he replied. "What time is it?"

"I'm not sure. The power's still out, and I left my watch in your guest room." The room was quiet and dim, without the hum of the refrigerator or any of the other electronics usually running in the apartment. Casey felt disinclined to move, his arms and legs still heavy with sleep.

Until Dana kissed him, and every part of his body woke up.

She put her cool hand on the side of his face and stroked it as she kissed him. He moved closer without even thinking about it, grasping her hip and pulling her to him. They kissed for what felt like hours, time stretching out into something unreal. When he moved his hand to her breast, she smiled against his mouth; when he stroked the nipple with his thumb, her head fell back, and he kissed her throat.

She started fumbling for his waistband, and he lifted his head to look at her. Her cheeks were flushed, her teeth digging into her lower lip.

"Dana, what's going on?"

"Shut up."

He caught her wrist, wincing when the elastic waistband of his sweatpants snapped out of her fingers. "Look, this is kind of out of the blue. I mean, it's not completely unexpected--" He released her hand in surprise at the sound of a cough.

"Uh, you guys still remember I'm here, right?" Dan asked.

"Shit," Casey breathed.

"I'll just go out to the living room and sing. Loudly." Dan lifted up the covers and started to push himself out of bed.

Dana rolled towards him and grabbed his shoulder. "No, Dan, wait."

"You two clearly want to be alone."

Casey watched as she laid her hand on Dan's cheek, just like she'd done to him. "No, we don't."

He wondered if he should feel jealous, watching the two of them kiss, but it was nothing like seeing Dana with one of her boyfriends. He knew them both so well, it was almost familiar. On the other hand, he had no idea what the hell was going on, except that things had definitely gotten even weirder.

Dana turned over and lay flat on her back between them. "Casey, tell him he can stay."

Casey looked at Dan, but Dan didn't move, didn't give him a hint one way or the other.

"Don't ruin my day of rejoicing," she said, with a smile twisting that quirky mouth of hers.

"Dana, are you sure about this?"

"I'm sure. Shut up."

"Why do you two keep telling me to shut up?" Then Dan leaned across Dana and kissed him. It was awkward and short, and Casey felt his heart thump in his chest.

"Because we're smarter than you are," Dan said.

Casey took stock of things. His hands were shaking a little, he was scared out of his mind, and he was in a bed with two of the people he loved most in the world.

"Do that again." Dana's voice was quiet. "Kiss him."

Casey met him halfway. Dan's stubble scraped against his cheek, but his mouth was soft and urgent, and Casey wondered how long Dan had wanted him without ever letting on. Dana's hand crept back towards his waistband, and he felt her fingers press against his stomach before she wrapped her fingers around his cock. His body flushed with heat, and he thrust into her hand.

Dan's mouth drifted down to Dana's, her hand faltering as he kissed her. Casey took the chance to pull open his nightstand drawer and grab the lotion he kept there. He watched Dan's mouth moving on Dana's, the flashes of tongue, the strip of skin between her shirt and her pants as Dan moved his hand under her shirt.

He handed the bottle to Dana, and Dan played with her breasts as she stroked Casey's cock. She was the one touching him, but he thought he could feel both of them, both of them pulling his orgasm out of him like fireworks behind his closed eyes.

He lay there and drifted in a pleasurable haze, letting the little shocks wash over him as she pulled her hand out of his pants. Dana's moans drew him out of his reverie. Dan had his hand between her legs, rubbing in small circles, and Casey had to touch her. He kissed her, took her nipple in his mouth, listened to her say things that could have been his name. Dan's mouth met his on her breast, and the touch turned into a kiss.

He worked his hand into her panties alongside Dan's, and the two of them tangled their wet fingers together and rubbed her until she cried out and grabbed their shoulders and held on tight. Casey kissed her as she came down, and when he rested his hand on her chest, her heart pounded against his palm.

Dan had let his head drop to her shoulder. He was breathing a little heavily, and his breath brushed Casey's hand.

"Don't forget Danny," Casey whispered in Dana's ear.

She stretched languorously. "I'm the boss. I don't do all of the work." Her sated smile was a challenge. She giggled when Casey hauled her on top of him and then rolled over, putting himself in the middle. When he turned to look at Dan, Dan's lips were pressed tightly together. He looked nervous.

"Hey," Dan said.

"Hey."

And then there was nothing else to say and nothing else to do but kiss him. Dana stroked his back and he grabbed Dan's bicep, feeling the muscle through the layers of cloth. It was different than kissing Dana. Dan was more forceful, pushing his tongue into Casey's mouth, resisting a little when Casey tried to lean over him and push him flat. When Casey gathered his courage and touched Dan's erection, Dan's eyes widened.

"Holy shit, Casey." He looked like he was torn between laughter and panic.

"I know." Dan had taken his belt off to sleep. Casey popped the button on his khakis and eased the zipper down, pulling Dan's cock out through the gap in his boxers. It was fever-hot against his fingers.

"Here," Dana said. She reached for his hand and slicked lotion on it. "Do it fast. He's been pretty patient."

"I've been damn patient."

"Yes, you're a saint. Shut up," Casey said, and grinned at him.

After that everything seemed to make sense. It didn't matter that he'd never done anything like this before, or never even dared to dream about it. He just watched Danny's face and listened to the instructions that Dana whispered in his ear, faster, tighter, come on, Casey. When Dan came in his hand, it was like hearing that perfect crack of a bat hitting a ball and knowing that it was going over the fence. It was something the three of them had done. Together.

"Look," Dana said, after Casey had put Dan back together and pulled the covers back up. "It stopped snowing."

Casey just shook his head and closed his eyes, feeling Dan and Dana on either side of him. He didn't need to look outside to know that he wasn't cold any more.