A/N: Short, but...eh. Oh, well. Danny/Aiden angst, if you couldn't pick up on it. Unbetaed (and at 1 a.m.), so all mistakes belong to me. Other than that, enjoy.


He knelt in the soft earth, thin raindrops striking his skin. He could feel it, each individual collision, each molecule. A grim smile illuminated his features. New York City was hardly an ugly place. Far from it. Even with its crime, the city had far more beautiful things worth appraising. Except when it rained. When the heavens opened over Manhattan, the city seemed to be drenched in its misery. The rancid smell of fish from Chinatown mixed with the smell of dumpster trash in Soho, and the pollution collected overhead, and it felt like they were suffocating—suffocating in a mixture of trash and pollution. He had never fully appreciated the rain until now.

He remembers when he realized it. The unbearable truth. He remembers when he realized he loved her. That he wasn't just a guy thinking that his tough girl friend (two separate words with a different meaning than the messy compound monster) was easy on the eyes or that he wanted to be friends with benefits. He didn't even feel it happen. The shift in the air between them. How the air became statically charged with their energy. How their playful banter had gradually leaned towards flirting. How he found himself gazing—no, no, not gazing…admiring her beauty more and more. "Hello? Danny?" His eyes flick up to find a piece of red licorice dangling in front of his face. The brown pools simply trace the candy back to its owner, who simply tips her head back and laughs. "Zoning out there?" Her cherry red lips wrap themselves around a grin, and he can't help but grin back.

He reaches in his jacket pocket, and pulls two tickets out. "Want to come see a baseball game with me?"

She doesn't follow baseball, and he knows it, but she nods anyway. He grins. She bites the licorice…

"Well, aren't you smooth?" …and pulls.

He wants to cry, to scream, something. He wants to stand in the middle of Times Square and be a crazy, stand and scream about the unfairness of it all, yell at God, at Manhattan, at anybody who'll listen. It's insanity and he knows it. A grim smile lights up his face. She always did make him insane. It's the good insane when she's alive, and the bad insane when she's dead. His fingers ghost over the name engraved in the tombstone. They should have buried her with Twizzlers. She should be happy.

It's the last inning, bases loaded, and there's a tension in the air. He laughs. The stuff made of clichés. She's wearing a blue baseball cap, knocked crooked from one of her cheering frenzies. He smiles. She's on her feet again, vocal cords strained from screaming—cheering on a team she doesn't know. She turns her head for a second to face him, and that's when he realizes he's been staring at her. "What?" she asks. "I got something on my face or something?"

He reaches for the stray strand of hair flying all over the place and tucks it behind her ear. He smiles, his thumb brushing her cheek. And then his lips are on hers, soft, tender, insistent. She smiles, and then laughs, grabbing his arm and leaning against him.

"When did you become such a girl?"

His calloused hands burrow furiously, uprooting generous amounts of dirt. He tosses the scrap of paper in haphazardly before covering it up again. It's his message to her. The only thing he has to say. The only thing she has to know. It's nothing sappy. It's not that he can't live without her. He can. He just doesn't want to. Three simple words.

I love you.