"Tennis. Basketball. Golf. Cricket, for Christ's sake--"
"Are you building to a point here, or are you just demonstrating your encyclopaedic knowledge of sports?" Encyclopaedic doesn't come out exactly right, but Casey loftily carries on. "Because we've got ten minutes until we're back at your place, and I'm just--"
"The New York Marathon. Badminton. I'd go see any of them with you. I'd enjoy going to see any of them with you. But no. All the sports there are in the world, and you torture me with the most pointless one."
"You're such an American," Casey says. "You're almost certainly why the rest of the world hates us." He figures Danny absolutely deserves the punch in the arm Casey tries to deliver. He only misses because it's wet underfoot. It's also dark; streetlights are obviously no substitute for actual daylight. He can't possibly be blamed for not having perfect aim, and there's no need for Danny to look so smug about it.
"To be honest, if the whole world hating us was the consequence of no soccer, I think it would be a price worth paying. Dude--" He catches Casey's elbow, as Casey sort of loses his balance. "Stop trying to hit me. You can't even walk straight." He smiles apologetically at the guy he's just knocked into, and lets Casey go just to free up his hand for getting in a punch of his own.
Casey would respond, but he knows he doesn't have to. He gives it thirty seconds, and then it starts again. "Fine. It's not that I doubt there are more pointless sports," Danny says. It's possible he says it louder than is strictly necessary. There are groups of people on the street, talking and laughing, and there's obnoxiously loud music spilling out from a black sports car just a couple yards back, but all the same, a woman hurrying along the sidewalk in a coat that makes Casey cold just looking at her gives him a sharp glance as she passes. Not that Danny seems to mind. He's worked himself up into the kind of inexplicable rage soccer always produces. Casey doesn't mind, either. He's a little buzzed, maybe, on exactly the good side of drunk. He's content to let Danny talk, as loud and as wrong as he wants to be, as long as he keeps doing it, and Danny seems to be on board with that plan, too.
"I mean, admittedly, Dominoes is probably more entertaining to watch, and God knows, Go Fish requires more tactical acumen, but I'm sure it's still possible there's something more pointless. Running around in a circle to see who can fall over first, maybe. But the thing is, nobody makes me watch them. You see how that's better for me?"
Casey just grins at him, or thinks he does, anyway. He's not at all sure why it's this cold in October, but he suspects global warming has something to do with it. Or George Bush. Or Danny. Really, it's clearly Danny's fault, because the bar was warm. And there was still a lot of alcohol in it when Dan made them leave, as if Casey weren't holding his liquor perfectly fine. Now, there's no alcohol, his face is an unpleasant kind of numb, and he's wishing his own coat were a little more substantial. Danny, of course, has on some kind of puffy monstrosity; It's big and bulky and really just not right at all.
"Your jacket really just isn't right," Casey tells him, not caring about the non sequitur. It's a point that has to be made. "Furthermore, I was holding my liquor perfectly fine." That, too, is a point worth making. Again.
"You were," Danny says. His hand catches Casey's sleeve and tugs, which is really stupid, because Casey was just about to step around the garbage can. He doesn't pull away, though. Danny's hand is warm from being shoved in his pocket, and Casey kind of likes the way his fingers feel as they brush the back of his wrist. "You were holding your liquor in almost exactly the same way that soccer is interesting."
"I'm gonna have you transferred off my show for sports barbarianism," Casey says, turning into him so he can catch his smile. Even when he hasn't spent half the night doing tequila shots, Casey knows he can't possibly look at Danny exclusively and not fall over. He does it, anyway, because he's gotten a little preoccupied with watching Danny these days--or maybe it's just that, these days, he's realised how preoccupied he is with watching him. Danny lets go of his sleeve only long enough to grab his shoulder. Casey leans into him a little bit, glad for the warmth of him, mostly just glad for him. He still doesn't like the jacket, though. Danny doesn't quite feel like Danny with it on. Casey nearly tells him, but he isn't sure Danny would want to hear it. Casey should be far more hung up that he wants to say it, but honestly, he's gotten over the knowledge that he's interested in how Danny feels. With that kind of accomplishment under his belt, wanting to talk about it now is hardly a life-changer.
"Is it possible," he says, instead, "that you just don't get the offside rule? Is it possible that you, like a girl, just can't comprehend it?"
They cross at the lights, Danny steering Casey right, to take them in the direction of his place. It's already quieter now, almost peaceful, less like a city the further they go. Danny's laughing, even though this is how Casey always tries to win this argument. Maybe because this is how Casey always tries to win this argument.
"I understand it, and I think it's insane. And also, really, Case. It's 2002. Using sexism to insult me just isn't cool."
"Your face just isn't cool," Casey says, because he really has no good answer. Danny's laughter, this time, is an awesome burst of surprise. It makes Casey laugh, too, because every time he can get Danny to sound like that, he has to repress the urge to do a victory dance.
It's even better when Danny knocks his shoulder into Casey's, affectionate and easy. "Charlie would be so proud. I mean it. Your debating skills have come a long way under his tutelage." He pats Casey's arm, and says, all mock concern, "I'm gonna let you go now, while I get my keys out. Will you be okay to walk by yourself?"
"Shut up," Casey says, and only staggers a very little bit when Danny takes his arm away. He only misses the contact a very little bit, too. He concentrates on walking the few yards to Danny's apartment building without falling over, and then he leans against the side of it while Danny opens about thirty-five different locks just to get in.
"For the record," Casey says, in what he hopes is his most sincerely helpful tone. "Some buildings have these things called doormen. You should maybe look into that."
Dan doesn't even turn around. "For the record, Some people have this thing called self sufficiency. You should maybe look into that."
Casey ignores that, spends the time trying to pick constellations out of the night sky, the way Jeremy explained it in the bar. Admittedly, it had seemed a lot more straightforward with diagrams drawn on the backs of beer mats; the sky, it turns out, is a lot bigger than that.
He's about to tell Danny this, but when he looks around, Danny's right beside him, saying his name like someone who's been doing that for a while. He sighs, long-suffering, wraps his fingers around Casey's wrist, and pulls.
"Dude," Casey says, letting himself be led. "I was communing with the sky. I'm almost certain that's Orion's Belt," he says, pointing with the arm Danny isn't holding.
"I'm almost certain it's not," Danny says, without even looking. "please stop talking now, and don't annoy the nice people who live here."
Casey's replying snort is probably verbiage enough, but he doesn't want to give Danny the satisfaction of doing what he asks. "I've met your neighbours," he says. "Nice is not a word I'd use to describe them." He closes the door behind them, careful to do that quietly, at least. "People isn't a word I'd use to describe them."
It's not actually that funny, but Dan doesn't want to laugh, so, of course, he does, exactly like he does when they're recording promos for the show. In the lights that automatically come on as they pass under them, Casey can see his back shaking.
"Seriously," Casey says, as they cross the lobby. There's an elevator in the building, but Danny doesn't take it. He almost never does. Instead, they climb the stairs, Casey close behind Danny, Danny still holding Casey's wrist, like he might run away if he lets go. It's a very nice building, coveted, apparently, for its vaulted ceilings and magnificent natural light. It's also very quiet, even when it's not coming up on 3 on a Tuesday morning; Casey suspects Danny's been accidentally drafted into some sort of government-run scheme to reintegrate the dead into the community.
"Seriously, Mrs Porter? I'm sure she's some sort of pagan God. One of the ones that sacrifice small children and bunny rabbits to keep themselves alive." Dan's fingers squeeze tight around Casey's wrist, but now Casey can feel the laughter as well as see it. Casey can't not keep pushing. "And Mr. Talbot? It's like Kirk Douglas and Death reproduced."
"I will hurt you," Danny says. Or attempts to. It's more a choking, wheezing sound with some words thrown in. They're outside his door now, and he fumbles with the keys.
"I don't even want to mention the woman with the parrot. I suspect her of foul deeds, Danny. Witchcraft!" He says the last part louder than he even meant to; he winces at the sound of it as Danny shoves the door open and drags him through it.
When he's closed it behind them and found the light switch, he slumps against the door, trying to glare at Casey through his laughter. His smile keeps winning, though, and Casey loves that smile. He always has. It knocked him off-balance the first time he met Danny, all those years ago, and he's the only person Casey's never minded being unbalanced by. Maybe because Danny's the steadiest person he's ever known, the one who's got to be there for Casey to write, the one who calls him out on being a dick and doesn't like him any less for it. The one who's never stopped expecting the best from him and never been disappointed when he hasn't gotten it.
"Danny," Casey says. He isn't sure if this is stupid or not, but he thinks, for once, he doesn't care about that. Danny's still hiccoughing laughter, but he looks at Casey, interested and curious. "Hitting me after I do what I'm going to do would be very bad, okay? Because, I mean, if you're thinking about hitting me after I do what I'm about to do, I'm going to feel pretty bad anyway. Compounding that kind of misery by hitting me would just be, you know. Kind of mean."
"There are, I swear to God, people in the seventh circle of hell I'm jealous of. Just in case you were wondering." Danny pushes himself off the doorjamb, and kicks off his shoes. He drops his jacket on top of them, and steps over the whole messy pile, until he's close enough that Casey could touch him without having to stretch for him. "Case," he says. "Casey, you idiot. I went to a soccer game with you. I'm not going to hit you. Unless, of course, you're not actually about to do what I think you're about to do." Then he smiles again, too brilliant and happy and hopeful for Casey to do anything but kiss it off his mouth. So he does.
His first thought is that they've been idiots for not doing this sooner, because this is right. Is more than right. It's the magic of every good script they've ever written together, when all the words came easy and they made each other better. His second is that he should save the analysing for later. His third is that Danny would give him endless shit if he knew Casey was sequentially ordering his thoughts at a time like this. That makes him laugh, just a bit, into Dan's mouth. Dan makes a vaguely unimpressed sound, and Casey sucks on his tongue in apology. Dan apparently likes that. The noise he makes this time is definitely a happy one, so Casey does it again, licks his way around Danny's mouth and gets totally lost when Danny uses his teeth some, moves his mouth away to get access to Casey's jaw.
Casey could do this for days. It doesn't matter that Danny's mouth is cold, that Casey's hands are colder. The first time he touches Dan, the shiver definitely isn't in pleasure, but that changes when Casey tugs on his hair a little, curls his fingers beneath his shirt, skating them over the knobs of spine at the back of his neck.
"I'm so glad you took off that fucking jacket," Casey says. He sounds breathless even to himself, strung out and completely gone, because Dan's mouth's under his ear; Dan's hands are settled heavy and warm on his arms, possessive in a way Casey never expected and definitely likes.
"I was displaying a little foresight." He pulls back to look at Casey meaningfully. It's the want Casey reads there, though, that has him fumbling out of his coat, fingers made awkward and clumsy in his eagerness. It joins Danny's stuff on the floor, and then Dan's hands are back on him, over his shoulders, down his sides, hesitating only briefly before slipping under his sweater to touch bare skin.
"You still have a bedroom, right?" Casey asks, because he isn't sure where this might go tonight, but he's old enough to admit that he likes a bed, if things are gonna get that far. Danny stiffens a little, as if he hasn't been expecting the question. Casey strokes his fingers along his belly, feeling the muscles jump beneath them. "Dude," he says, "don't freak out. I'm probably still too drunk to ravish you to within an inch of your life, or anything."
It doesn't earn him the laugh he was expecting. If anything, Dan gets even more tense. His hands rest on Casey's back, thumbs just curling around towards his hipbones, and it's a few seconds before he answers.
"You," he says, and clears his throat. "You want to? Because--you're drunk. We can walk this back, but. You can only walk it back from so far."
Casey's instinct is to be annoyed, maybe even hurt. Except it was a stupid thing to say; Danny's got this persistently ridiculous idea that he doesn't deserve all the good he can possibly get. "Listen," Casey says. He slips his hands from under Dan's shirt, draws him close with an arm around his shoulders. "Listen. We can take this and run with it as far as you want to. To the end zone and further, if that's what you want." Dan's smile's coming back, and Casey keeps talking. "I got about fifty more sporting analogies, and I'll use them all. And if that doesn't convince you, I'll call Dana, and I'll tell her. Then Natalie, then Jeremy. Hell, I'll wake up Isaac, and you know there's no walking back from that. I'm not bitter about it, as I might have mentioned before, but you're very clearly his favourite. When I've called Isaac and he's threatened me with painful, unusual death if I screw up, I'll call Time--"
Now he gets the laugh. "Jesus, you need to learn when to stop talking. Like Time gives a shit about your love life." He leans in and kisses Casey again, softer than before, shier, somehow. It's easily as good as the last time, but more permanent, and Casey takes it as a pretty huge betrayal when his lungs start being all stupid about oxygen.
Not that it matters. They've got plenty of time to do all of this, to learn everything they should've already figured out. Danny starts to move them out of the hall, and when he leads them left instead of right, into the living room, Casey doesn't complain. He really is a little drunk, and he has no intention of fucking this up.
"You're gonna have to move," he says, while Danny throws piles of magazines and other accumulated crap off the sofa onto the floor. "I absolutely refuse to entertain the possibility of the parrot woman listening to us having sex."
Danny grins as he pushes Casey down to the sofa. "There's always your place," he says, sprawling out beside him, half on top of him.
For once, Casey doesn't need to say anything. He kisses his agreement, repeatedly, and as emphatically as he knows how.