TITLE: Men from the Bronx
SUMMARY: Men from the Bronx do not fall in love. But he did.
SPOILERS: 4x02 "The Deep"
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the show or the characters. Please don't sue. The only thing I own is this computer, so you wouldn't get much out of me.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A little post-ep to satisfy my muse, who definitely thought there was something more to that D/L scene than what we saw.
Edited to add the following, because I am tired of answering this question (no offense to anyone, I've just answered it a bunch of times): I've said this before, but I'll say it again. A lot of people think that Danny is from Staten Island because Carmine is from Staten Island. There is no evidence in the show to support this. In fact, the episodes provide pretty convincing evidence that Danny is, in fact, from the Bronx. Watch Tanglewood, go to Google maps, and put in some of the places Danny mentions.
Men from the Bronx
Men from the Bronx did not daydream. Well, okay, that all depended on what the 'daydream' was about. They did have vivid fantasies about their girlfriends being completely naked underneath their lab coats, cleaning off their desks the easy way, and giving everyone in the lab a show not suitable for anyone under the age of seventeen. But they did not sit at their desk, staring at absolutely nothing, letting their minds wander to things not sex-related. Yet here Danny was, well after most of the lab had left, replaying his and Lindsay's earlier conversation in his head and wondering if he could have done that better.
He was scared. It wasn't just that he'd been 150 feet underwater, struggling to free one of his friends before he suffocated to death. Danny had been in situations like that before, and while it wasn't ever something anyone became accustomed to, he felt that he was better equipped to deal with danger than others. But this time, he was afraid. Not for Hawkes, not even for himself, but for Lindsay.
The whole time he had been in the warehouse, staring down the barrel of a gun, getting his fingers broken by Irish terrorists, he had kept himself going by telling himself that he had to survive – for Lindsay. He had just found her, and he was happy for the first time in probably his entire miserable life, and he wasn't about to let some foul-mouthed jackass Irish assholes take that away from him. And every time they punched him, every time he could taste his own blood, he thanked every god he could think of that he had taken Lindsay's shift that morning.
He knew how much it ate at her, that he had been in that situation while she was powerless to do anything to help him. He knew she still had some residual feelings of guilt because it was supposed to have been her in that warehouse. He didn't give a rat's ass what had happened to him. He survived, mostly in tact, and Lindsay had been spared any kind of physical pain. But he hadn't wanted to ever put her in that situation again. He didn't want her to worry about him, because he was impulsive and didn't think and endangered his life time and time again. But now it wasn't just himself that he had to worry about.
She watched the entire time, as Danny struggled to free Hawkes from underneath the mast. She knew how deep they were, and how dangerous it was just being down there at all, let alone pinned and running out of air. And while Hawkes had been in more immediate danger, he knew she was worried about him as well.
But he was worried, also. He was worried that he wouldn't be able to help Hawkes in time, that he would get caught in a methane gas bubble, too, that he would never make it back up to the surface, that he wouldn't get to see Lindsay again or tell her loved her, and that if he did make it back and Hawkes didn't, she wouldn't look at him the same way again. He didn't want to disappoint her. For some unknown reason, she cared about him. She maybe even loved him.
And that scared him more than anything. Because he was pretty sure that he loved her, too.
"You know," she'd said, after they analyzed the trace in the syringe and Danny mentioned that he would take the results to Mac so that she could call it a day, "I'm starting to think you're some kind of super man."
He'd glanced up at her, trying to hide the blush that was tingeing the tips of his ears pink. He wasn't used to her compliments – at least the way she said them now. Before he went to Montana, her praise had always come in the form of a sarcastic comment or a joke. Now there was something else belying the words – something deeper. He secretly loved that she spoke to him in that tone of voice, but he wasn't used to this at all. He didn't know how to react. "I don't know," he said, shrugging. "I hardly think I'm made of steel."
She smirked and flipped her hair over her shoulder. "Parts of you are. At times."
He nearly dropped his papers. He also wasn't used to her overtly sexual remarks. She'd never been shy, before they started dating, but she'd never been quite so blatant. And she only ever spoke that way when it was just the two of them, but it still floored him every time. "I thought I told you to quit goofing around."
He winced as soon as the words left his mouth. He'd told her that before, when she tried to talk about what had happened. He brushed her off, because that tone was infusing her voice – that tone that made it sound like she was in love with him. And that really, really frightened him. Because men from the Bronx did not fall in love. She had smiled and went back to work, not the least bit offended by what he had said to her, but he hated how he had handled things. He turned from the microscope, intent on apologizing, on telling her that he was okay and that the entire time he'd been down there, all he could think about was her, but he couldn't. The words just wouldn't come. He went back to work.
The second time he said it garnered a similar reaction. Lindsay merely shook her head and rolled her eyes a bit. Then she touched him lightly on the forearm, gave him a smile, and headed out of the lab in the direction of the locker room. She certainly didn't seem bothered by the way he was treating her, so if it wasn't affecting her, why was it affecting him so much?
Because she was his girlfriend. Because she loved him and knew him and could probably tell that he didn't want to talk about it. He was honestly just trying to be modest. Men from the Bronx did not boast. Not about something like that. He hadn't done anything in that situation that the others wouldn't have done, and she was putting him up on this pedestal like he was some kind of hero. He wasn't, really. He was just doing his job.
And so here he was. Three hours after Lindsay had left for the day, he was still sitting at his desk, staring at his screen saver, thinking things over. He thought of how she never pressed him to talk when he didn't want to. He thought of how she took his jokes in stride. He thought of the way she smiled at him, with that secret smile that she reserved only for him, the smile that made his knees turn to water and the blood run south and made him forget any woman he had ever known before she walked into his life. He thought of the way she smelled, because she put lotion everywhere after a shower, and it was one of the most erotic things he ever had the pleasure of watching. He thought of the way his life had been going before he met her, and how much better it was now that he'd found her.
Men from the Bronx did not fall in love. But he had.
He had to see Lindsay.
Danny hopped off the 7 train and practically ran the five blocks to Lindsay's building. He was a lot later than he would have liked because Hawkes caught him on his way out the lab to talk. Danny didn't want to talk about what had happened, and he felt unbelievably uncomfortable as Hawkes tried to thank him for what he'd done. He hadn't done anything spectacular. And since he refused to take Hawkes's gratitude, Hawkes insisted on buying him a couple of drinks. So now Danny was two hours later than he had intended on being, and a lot more intoxicated.
Okay, he wasn't that drunk, but having any alcohol in his system at all was not how he had planned on doing this. Nor had he planned on doing this through the intercom, but as he buzzed her apartment again, he was starting to think that she wasn't going to let him in.
When she still hadn't responded, he walked back outside and over to where he knew her bedroom window to be. The light was on, so he knew she was awake, at least. He scooped up a couple of stones from the street and began to lob them over his head, aiming for her window. There were only a couple of beers in him, not nearly enough to affect his hand-eye coordination, so he blamed it on his nerves that he kept missing the glass – and the building altogether.
He dug his cell phone out of his pocket and hit number two on his speed dial, waiting impatiently for her to answer. As the phone continued to ring, he kept tossing rocks at her window. He was half tempted to scream her name into the night, and was just about to rip his shirt à la Marlon Brando when she answered her phone.
"Hey," he said, taking note of how her voice sounded harried, like he'd interrupted something. "Can I come up?"
"It's late. I wasn't expecting you tonight. Don't you have an early shift tomorrow?"
"I'll live. Can I come up or not?"
"Yeah, let me buzz you up."
She lived on the fourth floor. He still remembered when she had gotten the apartment. She'd been slightly disappointed that she couldn't find a suitable place in Manhattan, but at least Queens was a lot closer to the lab than her uncle's place in Tarrytown, and she was still bubbling with excitement at having her first official New York apartment. She had been at the lab six months by then, and he, Flack, and Hawkes had helped her move. It was a bitch to get her couch up four flights of stairs – it got stuck at least twice, leaving Danny pinned against the banister in the stairwell for at least twenty minutes. Lindsay had laughed hysterically and made them lemonade. They played cards and went to one of the pubs in her neighborhood to celebrate the fact that she was officially a New Yorker.
Danny now took those steps two at a time – three, if he could manage it – and when he made it to her floor, she was standing in the doorway. He almost tripped over the last step when he saw her, as she was obviously about to go to bed when he called. She was wearing a tank top and boxer shorts that he recognized as his, and she had folded her arms across her chest, which she normally did when she wasn't wearing a bra.
She smiled as he approached her and stretched up on her toes to press a kiss to his lips. Danny instantly captured her lips in a much more intimate kiss, dragging her lips open with his and gently probing her mouth with his tongue. She whimpered in the back of her throat and wrapped her arms around his neck. He gripped her hips firmly, pulling her closer to him. He kissed her until he felt he was going to pass out from lack of oxygen, and when they finally broke apart for air, he swayed on his feet.
She cleared her throat and pulled back, her eyes shining. "Well, that should give me sweet dreams tonight." He must have had an odd look on his face, because her brow furrowed in concern. "Are you okay?"
Men from the Bronx did not apologize. They did what they had to do, and they didn't care what people thought of them. But Danny was about to. Because Lindsay was his girlfriend, and she was concerned about him, and just because he was scared and unsure how to handle this funny feeling in the pit of his chest and uncomfortable with her praise and worried that he would cry in front of everyone in the lab was no reason to treat her the way he had. "I'm sorry."
She cocked an eyebrow. "For what?"
"For this afternoon."
Her eyes darted back and forth, something she usually did when she was confused. "Are you the one who swiped my granola bars?"
"What? No! Well, yes, but that's not what I meant." He glanced around, suddenly realizing that they were still in her doorway, and he didn't want to be having this conversation in the hall. Nor did he want anyone to see Lindsay in this state of undress. He grabbed her hand and led her inside.
She shut the door behind her and shook her head. "Is something bothering you? You're acting odd."
He stared at her in amazement. She honestly wasn't fazed at all. And he thought that she looked sexiest, not all dolled up like that green dress she'd worn that night in the subway, but just like this, with her hair messed up from sleep and wearing his clothes. He thought about how he couldn't concentrate when she was around, because all he could think about was the way she crinkled her nose when she was thinking, and the way she pursed her lips when she was annoyed, and the way her eyes lit up when she made a breakthrough. He loved the way she skipped down the street, and the way she got super excited about going to the movies, and the way she snuggled up to his pillow when he climbed out of bed to go to work. And before he could stop himself, before he could remind himself that men from the Bronx did not do what he was about to do, he said, "I love you."
She blinked. "I know."
"You know?" What the hell? He had been agonizing over this for months, it seemed, gathering up the courage to tell her. Because he had never felt this way about a woman in his entire life, and because he was afraid he was going to fuck up the best thing that had ever happened to him. And she knew the whole time. "How?"
"Danny, you flew to Montana for me. You gave me space when I asked you to. You didn't push me to tell you what I wasn't ready to tell you. You waited for me. Why else would you do that?"
He cocked his head to the side. And here he thought he was subtle. He ducked his head to stare at his feet, feeling that blush creeping up his cheeks to his ears again. It was certainly true that he was blushing a lot more now that he and Lindsay were together. But now that it was out there, now that he'd actually admitted it, he felt giddy. Men from the Bronx did not get giddy. But he was suddenly smiling uncontrollably. "So, if you knew, why didn't you say something?"
"Pfft," Lindsay said, rolling her eyes. "Yeah, that would have been romantic. 'Danny, I know you love me, so I'm just going to say it for you.' Not going to happen. Although, you know, if you – for once – wanted to be the one who gets all lovey dovey at work so that I can be the one who tells you to stop it, I'd very much appreciate it. I know you don't mean it, but it stings."
He felt his grin falter. "I'm not good at this kind of stuff, Linds."
She sighed. "I know. Which is why I've been willing to overlook it the past couple of times. That, and, well, I love you. I'm warning you, though – it happens again, I will kick your ass."
Danny smiled again. "Of that I have no doubt."
She stood on her toes to give him a quick peck on the lips. "Okay, now that's settled. I'm exhausted and you have an early shift tomorrow. So let's just go to bed."
Men from the Bronx did not just sleep in the same bed with a woman. But Danny loved sleeping with Lindsay. He loved listening to her breathing, and the sounds she made, and the way her voice was throaty first thing in the morning. He loved that his bed smelled like her all the time now. And he couldn't really sleep without her anymore.
"Lead the way, Montana," he said, gesturing towards her room with a sweep of his arm. She smiled and shook her head, then padded her way to the bedroom.
There were lots of things that men from the Bronx did not do. But Danny did. And he loved every minute of it.