Dirk had always wanted his own honest to goodness detective agency. Unfortunately, since such things tended to require a fixed location (and maybe even an additional person or two), he'd never quite got past the early stages of conception.
But finally he'd made it- and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was well worth the wait.
Together he, Todd and Farah were a well-oiled detecting machine! Well, moderately well-oiled. Well... perhaps just very lightly greased. Point was they worked well together, and they got the job done. Sometimes. Through the power of teamwork! And dumb luck. But mostly teamwork. It was therefore of the utmost importance to Dirk that their team remained well greased. A metaphorically greasy team was a happy team.
He thought about getting them all matching bracelets or rings- this was vetoed by Farah, who despised faffing around with hand and finger adornments unless they were brass knuckles. He suggested necklaces instead, but Todd showed a very unhelpful reluctance to wear any kind of jewellery. And neither of them seemed that keen on the idea of logo emblazoned neckties. So perhaps a more subtle connection was in order. Something that wasn't necessarily identical between them, but similar. A sign of solidarity and friendship and teamwork, a pattern or a motif.
It occurred to him, watching Todd unearth his ratty denim jacket from beneath his and Farah's leather ones, that they already almost had it.
Leather jackets! It was perfect- and he'd been stumped for what to buy Todd for his birthday, anyway! Double perfect! All he had to do was track down the most Todd leather jacket he could possibly find and he'd not only have a delighted Todd on his hands, but a nice greasy agency to boot! It was brilliant! Inspired!
Best bloody idea he'd ever had!
Awful. Depressing. Worst idea he'd ever had.
He had shopped around everywhere. He'd been from the dingiest of thrift shops to the highest of the high end, he'd tried vintage shops and market stalls and, in a moment of desperation, rifling through the coatroom in the nearest pub on open mic night. Nothing! Nada! Zilch! Not one leather jacket that really screamed 'I was made for Todd Brotzman'! He'd been tempted by one or two- he had no doubt that Todd would look fantastic in just about anything. But none of them were The One. And he couldn't get Todd just any jacket! This was important! This was a symbol of friendship, of solidarity, of Dirk's undying lo-errrrrrrespect. Dirk's respect. Because he respected Todd. Might even be in respect with him. And if this jacket was a symbol of that, it had to be perfect. And none of them were.
"Dirk, what's up?" Todd asked one morning, rooting around in the closet for something. "You're being all moody."
"No I'm not," said Dirk, moodily. "I'm just... tired."
"Well, I told you to get some sleep- how long did you stay staring at that laptop after I went to bed?"
"...That's not important."
"What were you even doing?"
Scouring the deepest, darkest corners of the internet for the perfect Todd jacket. "I was... watching Antiques Roadshow."
Todd stared at him, bewildered and a little horrified. "You were- okay, you know what, whatever. I don’t know why I’m even shocked anymore." He made a little triumphant noise as he found what he was looking for. It turned into a groan when he brought it out into the light. "Ugh. Great."
He held up his denim jacket- or rather, the remains of his denim jacket- with a mournful expression. "Guess this thing wasn't made to survive fire-eating ninjas," he said sadly, brushing off the front and dislodging one of the charred patches and about half of the zip. "It didn't look so bad yesterday..."
"Perhaps you still had smoke in your eyes."
"Yeah." Todd glanced at the window with a frown. "Damn, it's freezing out. Hang on a sec."
See, this would have been the perfect opportunity to present Todd with his lovely new Todd jacket. There could have been smiles and gratitude and hugs and... Well, it was too late now. Todd would just have to be cold for a little while until Dirk could find-
"-hope you don't mind."
Oh, shit, Todd had been talking this entire time. "Hm?" Dirk mumbled apologetically, turning to look at Todd instead of the middle distance.
Maybe if he'd been listening to what Todd was saying, he would have been ready for his heart to skip a beat.
Because Todd was standing in front of the closet, looking down at himself, straightening out the front of his jacket.
Or rather, the front of Dirk's jacket. His blue jacket, to be precise, the one with the star-shaped patches in the shoulder to cover the harpoon holes.
It was a tad big on him, slightly covering the palms of his hands, black collar high on his neck and bold against his pale skin like his hair, Mexican Funeral shirt peeking out through the unfastened front. He looked up, and the blue of the jacket paled in comparison to his eyes. But it wasn't a bad match all the same.
It was the jacket. The jacket.
Todd's eyebrows did that confused scrunchy thing they did. "Dirk? You don't mind, do you?"
"...me borrowing your jacket?"
It took Dirk a moment to remember that’s what was happening- the second Todd had put that jacket on it had become his in Dirk’s mind. It occurred to him that that may seem like a strange thing to say, though. "...No. No, of course not.” He cleared his throat and patted Todd's lovely blue shoulder. "It's a good colour on you. And a good shape. A good everything, actually, it’s a good, good jacket. You should wear it!"
"I am wearing it."
"Brilliant. Good intuition. Tremendous assisting, Todd."
Todd gave him that look that was two parts frustrated bewilderment and one part fond amusement. It was a very tricky one to pull off- but that's one of the things Dirk lo-respected about Todd Brotzman. He was ever so good at expressions. "How am I 'assisting' you by wearing your jacket?"
Because it solves my jacket-hunting problem and also makes you even nicer to look at than before. "Well, it's been in the cupboard a long time. It needs an outing!"
"So what, I'm taking your jacket for a walk?"
"Exactly! And you're doing a fantastic job so far- keep it up and maybe that can be your new official title."
"So my choice is either assistant or jacket-walker?"
"Official jacket-walker. But that is a big responsibility, I won't rush you into it."
Todd snorted and shook his head. His smile was even prettier than the rest of him. "Well, thanks, but it's just 'til I get a new one. I know you're protective of these things."
"There's no rush," Dirk said- in a rush, ironically. "For you to- I mean- that is to say-!"
Todd put his hands in his pockets- formerly Dirk’s pockets- and cocked his head. And Dirk absolutely melted.
"I mean," he said softly, with an attempt at a nonchalant shrug. "You should keep it. If you want. I like it- It suits you."
And then he blushed.
"...Uh," he said, shuffling his feet. "Thanks. Yeah, that's- that's great." He shrugged, and a little disbelieving smile spread across his face. "I, uh... I kinda like it, too."
Dirk grinned, bouncing on his heels because it felt like there wasn't quite enough room in his body for the surge of happy feelings and he needed to expel them somehow. "Good. That's good. I mean, I never wear it anymore!""
"Yeah, and it saves me a trip to the store," Todd reasoned, nodding his head.
"And I've got loads of them- can't wear them all at once!"
"Yeah, it's really the most practical solution."
"Do you think maybe we should go to work now?"
Ah, yes, they had been standing around grinning at each other for quite some time, hadn't they? "Another superb suggestion- I knew I hired you for a reason!"
"You didn't hire me- you broke into my house and wouldn't leave me alone."
"I pay you!"
"Farah pays me, actually."
"Yes, but it's my name on the plaque."
"And in your jacket, apparently," said Todd, scratching at the back of his neck where the label was. "Do you actually sew your name into your clothes? What is this, grade school?"
"I don't want people picking them up by mistake!"
"Who would mistake- hang on. So every time you've dropped one of these things because it was trapped or on fire, it's had your name in it?"
"And my address. So people know where to send it back to if they find it. No one ever seems to, though."
Todd sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Yeah. Yeah, okay, a lot of stuff just started making sense. Dirk, we really need to talk about you giving your personal details to people who want to kill us."
"Honestly, Todd, it's not that bad-"
"We've had to change the locks three times this month."
"...Alright, it is a little bit not good."
"We're taking the labels out of these."
"Well, certainly out of that one!" Dirk grinned. "It's yours now, after all!"
Todd blushed, and glared, and continued to rant about the dangers of over-labeling as they finally got started on the chilly walk to the agency building.
When he took off the jacket he hung it on the single coat hook in the office. Right where his denim jacket used to live. Sandwiched between Dirk and Farah’s leather jackets. The next day it was there again. And the day after that.
Yes. A greasy team was definitely a happy team.