It only takes once, Dirk's thoughts running away from him in the middle of their first case together, thinking, Todd Brotzman is everything.
After that, he can’t help himself. He sees Todd’s face and hears his laughter and Todd tries to reassure Dirk when he’s down— which, who else does that— and he sticks around even through all of Dirk’s “weird flighty bullshit” so it’s hard to keep it out of his head.
When they go to the Sound of Nothing, pink effervescence lines the sky and Dirk feels more at peace than he should. More than he has in a long time, unquantifiably so, but also it’s unimportant, so unimportant that when he turns to see Todd coming closer to him through the throng of people, his traitorous brain cooks up a new addition to the phrase he’s made a mantra.
Todd Brotzman is everything to me, it whispers, and it’s right, god it is so right, and he can’t help himself from rushing forward, his hands reaching and brushing past Todd’s after a fumble of intimacy in the middle of their bodies to grasp his shoulders.
They’re saying words, delicious words, happy words, meaningful words, and all Dirk’s brain is saying is Todd Brotzman means everything to me, he’s everything to me, I’d be lost without him, he’s all I need.
And Todd’s saying, his face full of meaning and earnestness, that Dirk of all people is his best friend, that they’re going to be best friends forever and solve the case and that everything will work out in the end.
There’s a wiggling, niggling feeling in the back of Dirk’s head that sounds like it wants to protest, but it’s drowned out easily by everything else, by the floaty pink light in the air that’s reflecting off of Todd’s eyes.
“Todd, you saying this to me is the single most important thing that has ever happened in my life,” he says right back, and it’s leaking out of every pore the way he feels, the way he feels ! Todd has to know, he needs to know. “You are the first person I’ve ever met who actually wanted me around!”
The mantra keeps evolving in the back of his head, more and more and there used to be a reason why he hadn’t let it run amok, but that didn’t matter when it was saying And his eyes are so beautiful, he’s so beautiful, I’m gone for him, utterly and completely gone and I don’t mind, I’ve never minded, not for him, not when he’s everything to me.
“I didn’t at first,” Todd reminds Dirk, but that’s old news, confirmed by the at first, because Todd has obviously changed his mind since then.
“Not at first,” Dirk agrees, talking over him, too fast and not fast enough.
“But I caught on,” Todd continues, “I evolved!”
“Yes! Yes!” And it feels spectacular and wonderful and never better, here, at the Sound of Nothing bathed in popping pink champagne cheery vexing and vaguely, vaguely unsettling atmosphere. The feeling slips for just a moment, the wiggly-niggly anxious stressed worm surfacing long enough for Dirk to lean in close, bending down and putting his hands on Todd again— when did they ever leave?—to confess, “But, listen, Todd, I think something’s been done to us, possibly supernatural, and it is…” what was he going to say?
The mantra is back, reminding him that Todd Brotzman is with me and he wants to be with me forever! and so Dirk backs up just a bit and screams, “…great!”
He and Todd laugh and laugh and oh Dirk likes how that sounds, the two of them being joyful together because it’s about the summation of the parts and not just their independent existence and Dirk can recall that lately, he’s not been very happy like this but right now he can’t remember why and Todd’s here so it doesn’t matter anyway.
It doesn’t matter and it won’t matter until it’s back again later so he doesn’t have to worry about it in the meantime, he can just be, here, in celebration.
Farah comes along and Dirk celebrates her, too, because she’s another best friend and she’s talking about her dad and how she’s free of his expectations now, and that she and Todd… kissed? Okay, he’s confused about that one, but when he asks about it in a conspiring manner they both brush it off and so he drops it because why would that bother him now?
“I’m not like them,” Farah says, and she, too, is earnest and beautiful beneath the light, and the words are to Todd but Dirk is right there, too, and when she says them he knows they’re also for him to hear and know and cherish.
“This is where I’m supposed to be!” She cries. “I mean I’m…” she turns and looks at Dirk and smiles. “I’m one of the freaks!”
“Yes!” He yells, and Todd yells it too, and they’re all in agreement, concordance thrumming between them with exuberant rightness.
“I love yelling ‘Yes!’” Dirk cries, because he does, and this is amazing and he and Todd turn to each other and Todd gives him another breathless laugh, an endearing shoulder shrug with a helpless look like maybe he sometimes can’t help thinking Dirk Gently is everything, and wouldn’t that be nice, if he did?
Tina is their next addition, throwing her arms around Dirk and Todd and confessing loudly, her shirt half-unbuttoned, “I want to fuck everybody here!” And Dirk loves that for her, he hopes she gets the chance to do as much of that as she wants to tonight.
And then they dance. There’s a crowd, and Dirk doesn't normally do crowds, but tonight he’s free of feeling like the weight around him is oppressive and instead it’s just garnering connections. He has about sixteen small hunches that don’t matter and don’t go anywhere beyond the room, like somehow being able to tell that Silver Boots and Fishnet Stockings are going to get married at some point in the future. He makes sure to yell “Congratulations” at them, because who knows if he’ll ever see them again, and he needs to make sure they know that being in love is a cause for celebration.
He looks at Todd at the thought, and normally he would look away right after that because Todd is already looking at him, but that makes him feel flustered and shy and bold all at the same time so he keeps looking and Todd’s eyes are just the perfect shade of blue.
I’m gonna get a jacket that color blue, he promises himself, tucking away the thought for a time when he can think about logistical logistics and hows and whys.
But for now, all that matters is Todd smiling back at him incandescently, and he gets closer to Dirk even though they weren’t so far apart to begin with. This, Dirk notes, does matter. It matters a lot. It matters an inordinate amount that he cannot begin to even fathom, because Todd’s hands are on his shoulders again and he’s feeling incredibly in the moment, like his bones are his bones and his flesh is his flesh and he can feel everything but nothing all at once.
He can feel his expression turning helpless and awe-struck, his head shaking slowly as Todd’s hands move from his shoulders to his cheeks. Dirk’s heart thrums in his chest and he feels important and Todd’s looking right into his eyes so he’s doing the same thing and the feeling turns to being known, like Todd sees him and wants him.
“You’re everything, Dirk Gently,” Todd says.
And so there is really no other choice but for Dirk to kiss him, his hands grabbing Todd’s braces to bring him in just a tad closer.
Dirk thinks that any other time this might have felt too big for him to have done. He doesn’t recall all the details, and when Todd’s lips move against his own he doesn’t pretend to linger on them. Right now, though, it doesn’t feel enormous. It just feels right.
It feels like they’ve been doing this for years, like he took a way-too-long extended break from kissing Todd but now that they’re back here, together and well, it’s natural.
The kissing doesn’t last as long as Dirk wants it to, but that’s okay. They’re in a crowd— really? Still? How did he forget?— so they get jostled and so it ends.
Dirk smiles down at Todd giddily, and since Todd said the thing, he says it as well. “You’re everything to me, too.”
And then Farah is back like they never lost her, Tina hanging on her arm with a container of purple glitter in her hand. “You want some?” She shouts, and then doesn’t wait for them to answer, her fingers dipping into the pot and bestowing them with lines and lines of it on their arms and one of Todd’s cheeks and his forehead.
The details of sensation slip away from Dirk again and everything feels hazily good once more, slightly blurry but fun. They’re dancing again, the four of them, and it’s too hot, so he peels off his jacket and hands it to someone who takes it from him very nicely and that’s that.
He can’t help but want to be close to Todd, still, but it seems like Todd agrees since he stays put in front of Dirk and occasionally at his side if need be. When Dirk feels like it would be right, he grabs Todd’s hand and Todd just laughs again, his eyes shining and bright.
Time doesn’t feel linear. It feels compressed and endless, and it is much too soon when Farah calls for them, saying something about the police station and checking in on Bart and Panto.
Outside, things are going to be cold again, and Dirk’s jacket is long gone, but when he protests loudly into the air, Silver Boots from earlier materializes in front of him and takes off her fuzzy pink coat to drape around his shoulders with care. Dirk is touched, and he “aww”s at her until Farah pulls him away, Tina petting his new accessory and rambling about its “Ten out of ten softness, I promise you.”
In the night air, things feel quieter, but Dirk feels no less full. When they get close to the station, Farah and Tina pull ahead somehow, Dirk doesn’t care to notice the particulars, and he and Todd take their time, hands swinging low but joyfully between themselves, trading little smiles and bigger smiles yet, giggling at nothing.
They linger on the concrete block outside of the station; Dirk can admit he doesn’t want to let go. Not of this, not of what’s happened tonight. It was important. All of it was, and the details are already hazy about most of it so he can do nothing but hold onto the feelings he has before they disperse too far to gather.
“I meant it,” he tells Todd. “Everything, I meant everything that happened tonight.”
Todd squeezes his hand and glances over at him, eyes wide and full of belief in him. “Me too, Dirk. Things are better when you’re here. I’m glad you’re back. I missed you when you were gone and I’m a mess without you.”
Dirk’s in too deep to be unaffected. “Ditto, ditto, and ditto,” he says with relish and then exhales into the cold air, watching his breath form a cloud of mist and he shivers even though he isn’t cold.
Even though this is important, it’s also too much and it’s overwhelming and Dirk gets the onset of the big feeling, the one that he’d disregarded before when things had felt lighter. But he doesn’t want to forget that sense of rightness that had flooded his veins, and he searches around for a reminder, any reminder that he can give to the both of them.
“I didn’t think this would be my life, but I wouldn’t trade it now,” Todd says, and they’re getting too close to each other again which makes Dirk’s heart race because he wants and it’s becoming rapidly apparent to him that this might not happen again, later.
The pink is fading and so is its unhindered joy, not enough to stop him but enough to make him desperate, and it’s apparently doing the same thing to Todd, because the glowsticks around his neck are given an impatient tug down so that they can kiss again.
This time, Dirk can feel everything a little sharper and he can hear the noise Todd makes into his mouth and it’s the same amount of right but it’s tinged differently. The way he grips the back of Todd’s shirt like he doesn’t ever want to let go makes it abundantly clear, and then there’s his head spinning from whatever Todd’s tongue is doing and he tries to crystalize it all into his memories before it dissipates like vapor.
He doesn’t know how long it lasts except for the fact that it’s too short, and Dirk’s hands shake as they pull apart. In a moment of genius, he takes the glowsticks from around his neck and puts them around Todd’s instead.
“There we go,” he says, patting Todd’s shoulders, and that seems to be the only explanation that the other man needs, because he nods once and then nothing else passes between them before making their way into the station without another word.
There’s some shuffling around, some laughter, some more crazy happy floaty things happening inside. He and Todd partake in them and somehow he ends up on the upper bunk in Bart’s cell but the details of how are gone.
Dirk feels sleep coming on, a blanket slowly lowering itself onto him, and there are many thoughts he might wish to have, but the only one apparent and loud enough over the noise is Todd Brotzman is everything to me.
When he wakes up in the morning, confused and out-of-sorts, the two word addition to his mantra is the only thing about the night he can recall.