TITLE: Those Old Cheap Moves
AUTHOR: Sugah
SUMMARY: Danny and Lindsay go on a date.
SPOILERS: None
PAIRING: Danny/Lindsay, as if you needed to ask.
RATING: M. But you know, I write more than smut, people. :P
DISCLAIMER: They aren't mine, so please don't sue. Cardboard boxes make crappy houses.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Based on an episode of "Friends" and set sometime during season 2, just because I felt like it. Also, because then I get to ignore all that angst crap TPTB have been feeding us lately. I haven't decided when exactly I want it to take place, but suffice it to say that it's pre-RSRD, because Stella is still with Frankie.

The phrase "Messer Magic" was borrowed from theheathen and will be returned at the conclusion of this fic, mostly unscathed.

Will be 3 chapters when it's finished.

Thanks to Cyko and Spunky for the beta.


Those Old Cheap Moves

Part 1

Appetizer


It started out innocently enough.

Lindsay and Danny were in their office, finishing up the paperwork from their latest case. Lindsay twisted around in her chair, desperately attempting to crack her back, and caught sight of Stella sauntering down the hallway, dressed for a night out. She'd retouched her makeup, added a little more bounce to her curls, and slipped into a slinky black dress that looked amazing. Lindsay watched her until she disappeared around the corner, and then turned once again to the mountainous stack of paperwork she had yet to complete. Without really meaning to, she sighed.

Danny looked up from his own work. "Something wrong, Montana?" he drawled, cocking an eyebrow.

Lindsay shook her head. "No." She certainly wasn't about to tell Danny, of all people, why she was suddenly so depressed. It was a silly thing to be upset about, really. So Stella was off on some hot date and Lindsay didn't even have a semblance of a personal life. So she was so pathetic that she didn't even have a cat waiting at home for her. Big deal, right?

"Yeah, not buying it," Danny said, putting down his pen. "What's up?"

"Nothing." She said it a little more firmly than she intended, and punctuated her sentence by dotting an 'i' on her form with enough force to dent the table. "I'm fine, Messer. Really."

Now Danny furrowed his brow, as though concerned. "Are you okay?"

It was the tenderness in his tone that gave her pause. He sounded genuinely worried about her; he obviously thought something was seriously wrong, and here Lindsay was having an attack of the green-eyed monster because she hadn't had a proper date since she left Bozeman. She exhaled slowly through pursed lips, debating if she should tell him the real reason or just make something up to get him to stop talking.

"You really want to know?"

He nodded, giving her what was probably his best puppy dog expression. She bet the girls just melted at the sight of him sticking out his lower lip in that delicious pout and opening those amazing blue eyes wide. Luckily, she was immune to what the lab techs had dubbed the 'Messer Magic.'

"All right," she said, returning to her paperwork. "If you must know, Stella has a date this evening."

"Yeah," Danny said with a nod, picking up his pen and also going back to work, "I know. Some artist she's been seeing."

Lindsay went silent for a few minutes, trying to figure out how best to phrase this sentence without sounding like a complete idiot, when Danny suddenly glanced up. "Monroe," he said, and she looked at him, if only because he addressed her by her last name rather than her nickname, "are you jealous?"

"No," she responded, a little too quickly, if the smirk spreading across Danny's face was any indication. "I was just making an observation."

"Uh-huh. So you sigh before making observations, then? Is this going to become a habit?" She would've given anything to wipe that smug look off his face as he imitated her earlier sigh and then, in a bad affectation of her non-accent, said, "We're out of coffee."

She crumpled up a spare sheet of paper and tossed it at him. He batted it away effortlessly. "You're an ass, Messer."

He laughed at his own joke, but then his expression sobered. "Seriously. What's wrong?"

She glared at him. "As if I would tell you."

He clutched a hand to his chest in a gesture of mock hurt. "I'll have you know, I can be a pretty sensitive guy once you get to know me."

She snorted. It came out harsher than she intended. "Yeah. Sure. I'll believe that when I see it."

Danny lowered his head to his reports once more, and she was astonished to see that he actually looked hurt by her callousness. She wondered if she should apologize, but he was now intent on his work, so she returned to hers, the guilt gnawing at the pit of her stomach. She didn't understand why she felt bad about her remark. It was no worse than the other things she said to him. This was what they did – this verbal back and forth was how they interacted with each other. But the things she'd said had never upset him until now. Had she crossed some line of which she hadn't even been aware?

Determined to smooth things over, she let him work for a while before she admitted, "It's been a while since I've been on a date."

He met her gaze and gave her a slow smile. Were she a weaker woman, that smile might have made her knees turn to water. "Really?" He leaned back in his chair, his hands behind his head. "You mean to tell me that the other guys haven't caught on?"

She furrowed her brow, confused. "To what?"

He licked his lips. "To the wonderfulness that is you."

She rolled her eyes but blushed all the same. "That line usually work for you, Messer?"

He grinned. "Every time."

Of that, she had no doubt. She'd heard rumors about Danny's fairly active social life – that he went through girls like most people went through packs of gum. She suspected that most women fawned over him and his corny pickup lines. And as much as she hated to admit it, he was an extremely attractive man. That was hard to deny. Some days, she found it difficult to concentrate when she was around him. Maybe it was the way those shirts he wore hugged the muscles of his well-defined chest, leaving little to the imagination. Maybe it was the way his biceps bulged whenever he braced his arms on the desk. Maybe it was because every time he licked his lips, she couldn't help but picture what else she wanted that tongue to be doing. And then there were his eyes – that unique shade of blue that seemingly only existed in his eyes. And his smile – charming and dangerous, but mainly dangerous because of how charming it was. And that accent…

"How long?" Danny's question jarred her from her thoughts, which were fast straying into dangerous territory.

She blinked. What had they been talking about again? "Excuse me?"

He smiled and shook his head, almost as if he knew exactly what she'd been thinking. "How long since you've been on a date?"

She tried not to blush, but she could feel her cheeks burn. "Oh. Um, since I left Montana?"

He whistled. "Damn, Monroe. How do you survive?"

She rolled her eyes. "I manage." She could only imagine what Danny's idea of 'a long time' was. He probably started hyperventilating if he went three days without being in the company of some bimbo who found the fact that he was a CSI completely fascinating. However, she was starting to get lonely, and though she was not the type of woman to have a one-night stand, she was starting to wonder if perhaps she should become so. But a one-night stand couldn't give her the things that she missed most about dating, about being with someone. She missed the comfort she took from his touch, the way she felt safe in his arms, the way he made her feel wanted and needed and loved.

"Montana?"

She shook her head to clear it and realized that Danny was once again speaking to her. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

He laughed. "I said, if it's so important to you, I could take you out sometime."

Her first reaction, to which she didn't give in, was to start laughing hysterically. The idea of the two of them going on a date was simply too ludicrous for words. Her second reaction, which won her inner battle, was to freeze and have her mind completely shut down. Because she honestly could no longer function normally. She could just picture the look on her face, especially when Danny said, "Sheesh, Monroe, I'm not suggesting we get married. I'm saying, let me take you out to dinner. Try and end your slump."

That statement brought her voice back. "Real smooth, Messer. How exactly does you and me going to dinner end my 'slump'?"

He leaned forward in his chair, his paperwork forgotten. "Look at it logically." He adjusted his glasses. "When a baseball player is in a hitting slump, he sometimes corks the bat, just until he gets his confidence back." He gestured at her with a sweep of his arm. "You just moved to a new city. You're a bit unsure of yourself, not certain if you made the right decision. You don't really know where you fit yet. Guys are attracted to confidence. You've got to get it back. You need to cork your bat, so to speak."

Lindsay didn't think it would be wise to tell him what came to mind when he said 'cork your bat'. But she could see the logic in his argument, even though she didn't really agree with it. It wasn't that she couldn't get dates. In fact, all she had to do was walk into a bar wearing that purple halter-top that she had, and she'd have more offers than she could count. It was that none of the guys who asked her out were guys from whom she wanted to accept an invitation.

She also didn't want to accept an invitation from Danny – for a plethora of reasons, most of which stemmed from the fact that she was incredibly attracted to the bespectacled smartass and didn't think she'd be able to control herself around him if they were to be alone for extended periods of time.

But still… How could she resist such a tempting offer? To see Danny Messer in his natural habitat… That was a chance she couldn't pass up.

"You're on," she said. She was sure she would come to regret it.

He smiled – a genuine smile, not the flirty one to which she was accustomed. "Excellent." He stood and shuffled his papers. "I'll grab you tomorrow after shift." He tucked the stack under his arm and headed for the door. "Dress nice. I don't impress easily."

As soon as he was gone, Lindsay dropped her head to her desk. This would not end well. She could tell. Or, rather, it would most likely end too well, which was not good. Not good at all.

Wait… How the hell had Danny managed to finish his paperwork?