A Little More Than Friends
Spoilers: American Dreamers: Skeleton found on a double-decker bus
Summary: Another look at a Danny/Aiden ending for American Dreamers. Slightly AU by the end (I think) and it will continue.
Pairing: Danny/Aiden eventually.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize. That would include characters places and cases unless otherwise stated. They belong to CBS and those other bu… great people that are copyright holders of CSI:NY
Author's Note: This is my first CSI:NY fic and it is AU by the end. Furthermore, I'm taking a little bit of a creative lisence when I say they have a connection and most things about their friendship.
All Over a Case
Danny Messer watched the brunette at the end of the table as he moved the print brush across the metal pipe, his mouth quirking up at the obvious anxiousness and impatience.
"A real fully intact human skull…" He almost laughed but knew an anxious Aiden Burn was one not to be messed with. Finally, Mac gave Aiden the nod she was waiting for. A grin blossomed over her face; one Danny noticed lit up her eyes. He rolled his eyes, his back turned to her, scanning the print he'd scrounged up off of the pipe. She was the proverbial kid in the candy store as she all but skipped out of the room, heading for the coroners.
God, she thought, dunking the skull to clean it. This is what I love.
It wasn't everyday she got the chance to use facial reconstruction, her personal favourite and consequently her specialty, to benefit a case. She was focused, so much so and so close to completing the face, that the opening and closing of the door escaped her. Danny, who'd noticed her on his way past, leaned just inside the door, watching her. Finally, feeling eyes on her, she looked around, smirking as they settled on Danny.
"In your element, I see," he quipped, pushing away from the frame. Aiden flashed him a cocky smile turning back to the work ahead of her. He continued to watch as she put the finishing touches on the face, admiring the way her hands smoothed in some places and others, too small for hands, were perfected with tools.
"Don't you have something to do?" she asked, nervous in his presence. She also preferred to construct in solitude. Danny gave her his half smile.
"Yeah, but I thought I'd drop in. You hungry?" Aiden looked at him like he'd grown extra heads. He motioned to her head.
"When you're done." Inside, his reaction matched Aiden's surprise. However, the butterflies calmed substantially as he watched her eyes light up in delight, even if her face stayed impassive.
"Sure. I'll find you when I'm done
True to her word, Aiden found him a half an hour later, processing the clothes that had been found in the recesses of an alley beside a bus terminal. He looked up, suddenly struck with how beautiful she was, or rather reminded. She was still in her lab coat, hair tied back and the biggest grin on her face.
"Ready to head out?" she asked, happiness laced in her voice. Danny nodded.
"Remind me next time you're ticked to get you a fully intact human skull," he teased her. She hit him lightly.
"It's so rare," she replied, voice slightly wistful as they made their way to the locker room. Flack passed them in the hall, waving a hello on his way to the waiting room. They grinned back, Danny holding in his laughter at Aiden's childish delight. They laughed about little things in the locker room as they exchanged the protective lab gear for protective warmth.
"It's sad," Aiden said suddenly as they sat eating lunch in a small deli down the street from the crime lab. Danny looked up.
"What's sad, Aid?"
"No body's looking for that kid."
"Stella said a mother and father came in looking for their son." Aiden shrugged, tearing off a piece of her bun. It showed Danny she wasn't sure that was any good.
"What if it's not? I mean, there's only so much a facial reconstruction can do. We've put out the picture in every newspaper, every media branch we've got…" she trailed off, focusing on her sandwich again.
"We're not always going to be able to identify everyone." She looked up, meeting concerned blue eyes and gave him a weak smile. They lapsed into silence, Aiden thinking about a time long ago and Danny watching her carefully.
"What happened to the Aiden that was excited to get her hands on a human skull?" Aiden shrugged.
"Okay, enough. No more brooding," he ordered, moving his empty plate to the end of the table. She raised an eyebrow, mouth opening to reply. The ring of a cell phone cut her off. It was Danny's phone.
"Messer." He listened for a few moments as Aiden sat back in her seat, waiting patiently for him to finish. He soon said his goodbyes and hung up.
"Mac. Something about a watch, a security camera and a pawn shop. You okay to head back?" Aiden nodded, depositing a few bills on the table. Danny did the same and they began the short walk to the office. The streets were busy and so Danny placed a hand on her back, more so to make sure he didn't lose her than to guide or caress, but Aiden still felt the heat of his hand. She was slightly – and surprisingly – disappointed when he removed his hand as they stepped into the building.
"We should do that again," she found herself saying. Danny nodded, in complete agreement.
"That we should. I'll see you, Aid." He was gone. Aiden pulled off her coat and hung it up, flopping back on the bench. She rested her elbows on her thighs and her head in her hands. She had a crush on Danny Messer. That was the only plausible explanation for her uncharacteristically loose tongue and the shivers as he guided her the few blocks to the lab. Aiden had had fun at lunch, regardless of her feelings about the case and was well and truly looking forward for the next time.
Danny, meanwhile, was only half paying attention to the computers in front of him. While he heard the questions and thoughts Mac and Stella fired off and adjusted the tape accordingly, his mind was on Aiden. He was concerned with her reaction to the case.
"Guitar!" That was all Danny got from the conversation before Stella and Mac left the room. He was confused until he watched the tape for himself and noticed the shady looking guy the camera was focused on pluck guitar strings out of the line of sight.
"What? No porn?" Danny looked up into Aiden's teasing gaze, mentally sighing in relief as she took a seat beside him. This way he didn't have to crane his neck to look at her.
"Security tape from a pawn shop," he supplied, ignoring her jab. Aiden nodded, leaning back in the chair. Danny watched her out of the corner of his eye, knowing from her posture that she was still slightly upset. He gave her time.
"Still no ID?" she asked suddenly, not really paying attention to the screens. Danny shook his head, stopping the tape and facing her.
"The parents are still here though. They insist your reconstruction isn't their son." Aiden nodded looking away from him. This was new. Aiden never avoided people eyes, especially not his. They'd had a connection since the moment they started working together.
"No one's looking for him, are they?" she whispered. Danny was confused at her reply.
"Hey," he started, leaning forward to look her in the eye. Aiden stood in a fluffy, turning away from Danny. He, however, followed her, never more excited about the lack of windows in the AV lab. He was sure Aiden would be just as happy.
"What's going on, Aiden?" he asked her, his hands on her shoulders. He felt the tenseness of her muscles. Aiden wouldn't reply. Therefore, in his compassion that for her was an endless well, he turned her into his chest, holding her close and letting her choose when to talk. What he didn't expect were the hot tears that dripped onto his neck from the strong woman in his arms.
She started to shake soon afterwards and he rubbed his hand along her back, pulling her into the shadow, completely out of sight of anyone who may pass by. It took her a few minutes to stop and he let her take her time in pushing away. When she did, she looked up at him shyly.
"Want to talk about it?" he asked softly. Aiden shook her head empathetically. Danny was fine with that.
"Okay." She wiped at the wet spot on his shoulder and Danny found himself looking at Aiden as more than a colleague.
"I got your shirt wet," she whispered, sounding remarkably like a little girl. He smiled at her.
"It's no problem, Aid," he told her honestly. His hands moved to her cheeks, wiping away the lingering wetness gently. She rewarded him with a watery smile.
"Want some time?" She shook her head.
"Okay." Aiden moved around him but he caught her before she left.
"If you want to talk, Aiden, I'm here." She favoured him with a genuine smile before acting on impulse and leaning over to kiss his cheek, lips lingering longer than a thank you from friend to friend. Danny's eyes fluttered closed for those few moments before they opened as she pulled back.
"Thanks," she whispered, leaving the AV lab and pulling the door closed behind her. Danny let out a heavy sigh mixed with concern and worry. He and Aiden had hit it off well when she walked through the lab doors and they'd settled into an easy friendship. Every once in a while they'd head out to see a movie or go out for a meal but never had they been as charged as lunch was.
And, Danny mused to himself; I must have been doing something terribly wrong to get shivers out of a friendly kiss on the cheek than... He was in denial and subconsciously he knew it. That was no friendly thank you kiss. But, for Aiden's sake, he wouldn't bring it up. Instead, he vowed to focus all of his energy on what was bothering her.