On the night of their wedding Alan Shore and Denny Crane dance on their balcony and smoke cigars until security chases them out. They break right back in – service elevator, only Denny has the key – and steal every single one of Denny’s files before sending a companywide email explaining the new changes with an accompanying photo of Denny’s ass.
They leave via the only route not on security camera (“How am I going to know which cameras will flatter me as I screw my client if I don’t know where the cameras are pointing?” Alan says to Denny’s raised eyebrow) and might never have been suspected if it wasn’t completely obvious.
“Let’s go home,” Denny says, and then they have a fifteen minute argument about to whose.
Less than 24 hours later Alan is summoned back for mediation. “To help guide you through your transition from our work place environment into the rest of your life,” says the mediator. She sounds bitchy. And hot, so he goes in.
“We want the files,” says one of the new owners of Chang, Poole & Schmidt. He doesn’t look very happy about it.
Alan smiles. “How about we make a deal? How about I don’t use the contents of these files to call every single one of Denny’s clients and ask them to jump ship to our new, founded this very second, firm. And in return for my inaction you will leave Denny and I alone. No lawsuits. You will pretend we were never here and I will not make it my personal mission in life to tank every single one of your cases. Because let me tell you something that will happen if you do try and sue us: I will personally represent every single claimant against you at no cost. My husband is very rich and he likes to make me happy. I like to make him happy too, so watching you get crushed would be like a wedding present to each other. Do I make myself absolutely clear?”
Alan smiles again and gathers his jacket. As he leaves the glass conference room he sees the reflection of Shirley’s hand touching one of them on the arm; her silent headshake of no and he knows they’ll be just fine.
Alzheimer’s drugs, Alan learns, have a very low placebo effect rate. For the most part the patients who take them cannot remember enough to expect the improvement. Alan repeats this to himself when he thinks he sees the gradual changes in Denny. He has no idea what he will do if this hope he’s stored somewhere deep within is taken from him. Possibly he’ll sue. Maybe he’ll sue the Supreme Court for letting Denny take it at all.
But Denny does improve, a little at a time. He remembers things like Red Sox scores and what he said to a jury the first time he ever faced Shirley in a courtroom.
They’re on the balcony of their penthouse one night when Alan voices aloud the fear that’s been building, even as the tight knot of worry he’s felt for Denny’s Mad Cow loosens. “You know, Denny, sometimes I worry that you’re going to look up one day and say, ‘I feel fine, but I can’t remember why I ever would have married you’.”
Denny frowns. “You know that will never happen. You’re my first wife that lets me sleep with whoever I want. I could never regret marrying you.”
Alan quirks the corner of his mouth, somewhat placated. Denny reaches out and takes his hand and Alan takes another moment to marvel that this is the man who wouldn’t hug another man when they met. “Alan, you’re my first husband.”
Alan squeezes their hands tight. “I hope I never regret marrying you,” he says, and Denny smiles like he knows exactly what that means.
They have a master bedroom with one king sized bed. The floor that comprises Denny’s penthouse has five other bedrooms and on occasion one of them will make use of them, but their bedroom is where they sleep. Denny still snores like some kind of creature from the Canadian wilds and Alan still finds it soothing. They crawl in to bed after being out with dates or prostitutes and sometimes they stay up late discussing the details and others they’ll have fake fights about how terrible the sex is in this marriage that they have to go elsewhere.
It’s the happiest either of them have ever been.
Alan founds his firm. He calls it Crane and Shore, though the Crane on the sign, like Denny’s presence in the office, is somewhat decorative. They hire young graduates and pay minimum wage, which Alan calls character building, and Denny calls free marketeering. Denny gives advice and then when they inevitably come to Alan for different advice Alan just says, “Denny Crane.” Alan handles the civic injustices and Denny, flying solo for the first time in years, handles the interesting murders or cases against firms he doesn’t like.
They have a success rate found only on TV lawyer shows.
The housing crisis keeps them busy; they take on a dozen new volunteers and hires but it’s not enough. One day Denny comes through the door that joins their two offices and sits down across from Alan, as he’s wont to do. “Alan,” he says haltingly. “I think being poor isn’t entirely some of these people’s fault.”
One of the things that Alan most loves about Denny is his capacity to learn and change. He’s not entirely sure what he would do if Denny overnight became a socialist – Alan probably wouldn’t like it, honestly – but Alan will never stop getting that little thrill when he feels like he’s made a difference in his husband. “Denny, the housing crisis is the result of a lot of factors, but mostly sub-prime lending.”
After Alan’s finished Denny sits there for a minute, processing. He looks angry, like that look he gets when he thinks about illegal immigration, protests against the NRA, and – lately – people brought to trial on witness testimony and hearsay evidence. “Someone should sue them,” Denny says and leaves Alan staring after him.
Denny doesn’t have a lot of friends left in the Republican Party. Denny claims that it’s because he’s invited them to so many weddings they’re sick of giving him presents but they both know if they’d gone for a traditional wedding Denny’s side would have been noticeably smaller than his wedding to Bev. Over the next six months Alan hears a lot of one sided angry conversations, but whatever it is Denny’s working on he won’t give up and he won’t give any of the details.
“It probably won’t work, Alan,” he says when pressed. “I don’t want to get your hopes up.”
But another month after that Denny comes in to Alan’s office with a draft affidavit personally naming 37 men and 9 women Denny tracked down the names of from Standard & Poor’s on charges of fraud and a whole host of other charges that it goes over three pages.
“Denny…” Alan says, uncharacteristically speechless before abruptly standing up from his chair and kissing Denny on the lips for the first time ever. It’s a quick, light kiss and when Alan draws away, surprised at his own actions, Denny laughs at him. “Didn’t we promise never to do that?”
“Our marriage vows forgot the suing Standard & Poor’s exception. Denny, we can’t do this. It won’t work. We’ll be assassinated. There’s no way it would work. I don’t think this would even work on television.”
“I don’t know,” says Denny lightly, “maybe a very special feature?”
Denny takes Alan’s hand in his, like he did on the dock on Nimmo Bay, “Alan, sue the most powerful men in the world with me? Let this be our legacy and by God if we go down let’s go down swinging.”
“This is mad.”
Denny smiles. “Alan, when will you learn that our maddest ideas are always our best?”
Alan sighs. “All right. Let’s go save the American economy.”
And then they do.