Title: About Last Night
Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one within this story. They belong to Jerry Bruckheimer, et al. I'm just borrowing them for a little bit.
Summary: Aiden wakes up in someone else's bed . . . and she's not alone.
Author's Note: I must acknowledge my fabulous beta, Ash. This story would be so much less without her input. I am forever in her debt :) This is the toned down version of this fic, suitable for If you'd like to read the adult version, you can find it on the danny and aiden livejournal or email me and I'll link you.
Aiden Burn opened her eyes against the early morning sunlight, a dull throb already beginning behind her eyes. She seriously despised hangovers.
Blinking against the ache in her head, she was grateful for the dark blue curtains over the windows in front of her. They billowed slightly against the window unit that blew cool air into the room, attempting to alleviate some of the mid-July heat that blanketed the city, even at this hour of the morning. Blue curtains. Blue was nice. She liked blue.
Wait. Blue? Window unit? The curtains in her bedroom were white, not blue. And the only air conditioner in her apartment was in the living room. The sudden realization that she wasn't in her own bed overtook Aiden, followed quickly by the additional realization that she wasn't wearing any clothes. What the?
Her racing thoughts screeched to a halt, however, when a hand reached out to touch her bare arm, the thumb rubbing small circles into her skin. She felt lips press into her exposed shoulder and a sleep-roughened voice said, "Morning, beautiful."
'Oh God, what the hell did you do last night?' Aiden asked herself as she instantly recognized the disembodied voice. She felt her stomach lurch as she whispered in disbelief, "Danny."
"How'd you sleep?" he asked as he kissed her again, this time moving further along her neck.
"I . . ." She couldn't form a coherent thought. Every other word in the English language seemed to have deserted her at that exact moment and all she was left with was an empty silence that she was helpless to fill.
Finally rousing himself from sleep a bit more fully, Danny seemed to catch on to her discomfort. "Aid? You okay?" he sounded so concerned and all that did was make her feel worse. Hell, at least he hadn't called her 'baby' or 'honey' or something.
When he didn't get a response, Danny sat up in bed and eased Aiden onto her back so that he could see her face. "What's going on?" he asked. This time he didn't even wait for a response before he spoke again. "I hope you know that last night wasn't just, ya know, a thing for me. I was serious about everything I said to you." He looked into her eyes, trying to gauge whether his words were easing her tension. Instead, he seemed to finally notice what her shell-shocked expression was really hiding. Aiden's heart broke when she saw how fast his face fell.
"You don't remember."
It was a simple enough statement and one that she couldn't dispute. Still, the words carried so much pain, so much hurt . . . she wanted to die for making him feel those things, even for a second.
He turned around, sitting up and swinging his legs over the edge of the bed, his head resting in his open palms. Without thinking, Aiden reached out to touch his broad, bare back. She felt the muscles tighten at her touch, such a change from the feather-light kisses he'd laid on her own skin just moments before. Her hand fell away dejectedly.
"I can't be here," Danny said suddenly as he raised his head and scanned the floor, squinting without the luxury of his ever-present glasses. Finding his discarded boxer shorts, he pulled them on as he got up.
"Danny, wait," Aiden pleaded, but he just shook his head and kept moving towards the door, grabbing a robe that hung on the back and leaving the room. The door closed with a resounding click, the sound seeming to echo through the room in the wake of his departure. 'What have I done?' Aiden thought for the second time that morning.
If only she could remember . . .
She knew how it had begun.
And not just any case, but a particularly tough one. Three kids, beaten to death in their own beds. The scene had been bloody and gruesome, one of the worst she had ever experienced. And things only got worse when they realized that the man who had taken these three innocent lives was someone who was supposed to love them: their step-father. A man who had adopted them, taken them into his life as his own children only to turn around and do something so horrible and unthinkable . . . by the end of the day it had all been too much to take.
Aiden had just wanted to get away. She wanted to go somewhere and forget. And so, that's what she had done. Once they had wrapped up the case and everything was over, Aiden had left the office alone and headed for Sullivan's, hoping to numb herself from those awful images, at least for one night.
She hadn't wanted company; that was why she hadn't told anyone where she would be. Everyone else had said they were on the way home, so Aiden had let them all believe the same was true in her case. But, somehow, he had known better.
She was popping the top on what had to be her third or fourth beer by the time he walked into the bar. She'd hoped that he wouldn't see her, but he had headed right for her, as if he'd come there with the sole mission of finding her. In fact, that was exactly what had brought him there.
"Mind if I join you?" he'd asked.
"Whatever," she'd shrugged.
Aiden had expected him to want to talk, to help her move past her demons, and that was the last thing that she wanted. She was surprised and relieved when he simply took a seat beside her, ordered a beer for himself and proceeded to drink in silence.
They'd sat there for quite a few more rounds, both getting sufficiently drunk, she more so than Danny. After drinking a few in the same silence, they'd finally started talking around Danny's third round, but none of their conversation centered around work. It was mostly mundane stuff, the kind of conversation that you'd have with friends over drinks. And Aiden remembered that it had felt really nice.
And that was about all that she remembered. She knew that she had kept on drinking, but after about seven or eight beers her memory got a little fuzzy.
And now here she was, in the biggest mess of her entire life with no one to blame for it but herself. She groaned and covered her face with her hands, trying desperately to think of what to do to make this situation better. She couldn't think of a single thing.
Finally, after lying in the bed alone for a good twenty minutes, Aiden forced herself to get up. After all, she wasn't even in her own bed; she certainly couldn't stay there all day.
She sat on the edge of the bed and scanned the floor for any sign of her missing clothing. The only thing she could see was her T-shirt wadded up in a corner and she had a sudden flash of Danny pulling it over her head and tossing it aside. The memory sent a chill down her spine; so vivid that she could almost feel his hands on her skin. Shaking off the image, she retrieved the shirt and pulled it back on.
Unfortunately, there was no sign of her underwear or the jeans she knew she'd worn to the bar, so she opened a drawer in the dresser and found a pair of boxers. Hoping that Danny wouldn't mind too much, she pulled the garment on, rolling the waistband up to keep them in place.
She made her way to the bathroom next, knowing with every step that she and Danny had done a lot more than sleep in that bed the night before. She was sore in places that she hadn't been sore in for quite some time and these particular aches only came from one source. There was no denying that she and Danny Messer had had sex the night before. She still couldn't believe that she'd ever be able to forget something like that.
By the time she'd used the bathroom and borrowed some of Danny's mouthwash to rinse the taste of stale beer from her palate, Aiden was starting to recall a few more pieces of the previous evening. Danny had stopped drinking before her; not enough to drive them home, but enough to make sure that they got a cab and made it home safely. She remembered him switching from beer to bottled water at some point in the evening.
She also remembered kissing him. Not at his place, but in the cab. She'd started the whole thing. Danny was being a gentleman, looking out for her and trying to be sure that she got home okay and she practically climbed on top of him and jammed her tongue down his throat. Not that she remembered Danny doing much complaining, of course.
Sometime after that, they'd ended up in his living room and there was more kissing and touching and
"Are you sure about all this, Aiden?" he asked. "'Cause we can stop"
He was cut off by her mouth devouring his again, kissing him long and deep, finally coming up for air to reply, "I've never been more sure about anything."
The memory hit her as she was splashing water on her face and she had to repeat the action a few more times just to steady herself. God, this really had been all her doing. And now Danny was in there thinking . . . well, she really had no idea what he was thinking. Probably regretting ever coming to that bar to find her in the first place.
She wasn't sure about very much right then, but she had to make this right.
Aiden found Danny in his living room sitting on the couch, his head cradled in his hands just as it had been earlier when he'd perched on the edge of the bed. He didn't acknowledge her entrance, even when she sat down beside him.
"I don't know what to say," she admitted softly.
Danny shook his head, scrubbing his open hands across his face roughly. "Me either," he said.
"I'm sorry, Danny. I never wanted to do anything to screw us up," she told him. "I just . . . this is all my fault and I'm so, so sorry."
He looked at her then, at last raising his eyes to meet hers and she was shocked to see how red they were. His cheeks were dry, so she knew that he hadn't been crying, but he just looked so . . . lost. It broke her heart all over again.
Reaching out to her, Danny took her hand tentatively and said softly, "It's not your fault, Aiden. It's mine."
"What? No, Danny, some of the details may be sketchy but I'm sure that I"
"No," he cut her off. "I was there to look out for you, to make sure that no one took advantage of your vulnerability and I . . ." he broke off, his voice cracking with emotion as his eyes traveled down to their still linked hands. "I should have been a better friend," he whispered, "and I'm sorry."
Aiden followed his eyes to their hands as well and suddenly another flash of memory came to her. Danny, his hands cradling her face as his thumbs caressed her cheekbones. Danny, whispering, 'God, I'm so in love with you.' Danny, kissing her breathless and making her heart leap and her stomach drop and her mind race. Danny loved her.
"Did you mean what you said before?" she asked then, covering their linked hands with her free hand.
"Did I . . . before?" he was confused and after the morning they'd already had she couldn't really blame him.
"You said that you meant everything you said to me last night. Was that true?" she asked.
Danny looked up, meeting her eyes again and finding more there than he could decipher from her question. His lips turned up in a sad caricature of a smile and he replied, "Yeah, I meant every word."
Once again she was overloaded, emotions coming at her from all directions, but she decided to follow the strongest one. Later she would realize that this was exactly the decision she had made the night before, too.
Danny wasn't expecting the kiss, much like in the cab on their way home. But at least this time he was sober and awake enough to react quickly. He released her hands and brought his hands up to her face and he deepened the kiss.
When they finally parted, both breathless and flushed, Danny said, "I'm still sorry about last night."
Aiden smiled purposefully and said, "I'm not."
"I think I've been in love with you since the first time I laid eyes on you," he admitted.
She grinned up at him at this comment and acknowledged, "Probably just about as long as I've felt the same way." Now it was Danny's turn to grin as he moved closer to her on the couch, their thighs touching and hands wound together.
"I do have one regret about last night, though," she confessed. Danny alarmed, but she quickly continued. "I remember most of the evening, but some of the better moments are a little foggy."
Danny grinned again, leaning in to nuzzle her neck, saying, "I could tell you all about it, refresh your memory."
"How about you show me instead?"
He sat back up to meet her eyes again, his blue eyes darkened with desire and what she thought could only be love as he said, "Nothing in the world would make me happier."
Aiden Burn opened her eyes against the early morning sunlight, a tingly feeling filling her chest even in the hours just after dawn.
Blinking against the tears that threatened to overcome her again, she was grateful for the man curled up in front of her. His eyes opened, meeting hers and they both smiled. Blue. Blue was nice. She liked blue.
"Morning, beautiful," he said in a sleep-roughened voice.
"Danny," she whispered lovingly.
"How'd you sleep?" he asked as he pressed a kiss to her shoulder.
She moved into his arms, curling her body around his and replying, "Better than I can ever remember."
March 18, 2005