Best Laid Plans

This was not the New Years Eve that Casey had envisioned for him and Danny. While they had celebrated the start of many years together during their friendship, this was the first since their relationship had moved past platonic. It was supposed to be special...memorable...amazing.

Casey imagined the night would involve champagne, watching the ball drop from Dan's apartment, and lots of sex. At least some groping. Instead, it seemed that Dan had other ideas that involved hospitals and making Casey go gray long before he should.

Once Casey knew Dan was okay, he was going to murder the idiot.

Casey rushed through the hospital doors, trying to hold onto his dastardly plans to kill Dan rather than acknowledge the panic coursing through him. He kept repeating that it couldn't be too bad if Dan was able to call him, but still Casey's mind wandered through all the horrifying, what if possibilities. The thought that he could've lost Dan, especially because of something as stupid as a sudden interest in extreme sports, was beyond his comprehension. A world without Dan Rydell wasn't one that Casey ever wanted any part of.

Hence his ode to running through a hospital like a crazy person, only to find Dan sitting in a wheelchair flirting with a nurse.

Casey stopped and gave himself a minute to calm himself down. From where he was, Dan looked okay. He was sitting in a wheelchair, cast on his right leg, waving his hands as he made the brunette giggle. Casey cleared his throat – jealousy could wait until he was through with dread – and moved down the hall toward the two of them.

Dan looked at him and grinned. He attempted a wave, but it came off as more of a flailing of his arms. "How did you get here so quickly?"

Casey glared at him. He said, "You call and say you're at the hospital. Did you think I was gonna stop for a coffee first?"

"Oooh…a coffee would be nice right about now," Dan replied. He tried to stand up. He would've ended up on the floor, except Casey caught him.

Casey's arms tightened around Dan, not moving them for a second, simply holding on in a sort of hug before pushing Dan back down into the wheelchair. He shook his head and said, "I'm not sure I even want to know what you did to yourself."

"I messed up my leg. Really lame injury – not even a few manly gashes to show off to people."

Casey rolled his eyes and the nurse stated, "Mr. Rydell has a slight fracture, nothing too serious if he takes care of himself."

Dan motioned to Casey and said, "He'll make sure I do."

"And exactly how did you break your leg?" Casey asked.

"It's embarrassing."


"So I'm suffering from a huge blow to my ego, Casey. Take pity on me."

Casey shrugged and said, "Sky diving isn't for everyone."

"Neither is walking, apparently," Dan replied. He ducked his head and said, "As I was just explaining to lovely Nurse Rita here, I was fine with the actual sky diving and landing."

"Obviously not completely, Danny."

"And this is the embarrassing part…" Dan paused and grinned sheepishly at Casey. He said, "I busted my leg after I had landed. I was jumping up and down, talking about how amazing that was, and got my foot tangled in the parachute. I fell. Twice. Not my finest moment."

Casey stared at him, "You mean you jumped from 20,000 feet without a problem, but tripped on solid ground."

"I'd be more offended by your tone if I wasn't completely high at the moment," Dan replied. He took Casey's hand in his and said, "Thanks for coming to get me."

"Like there was anywhere else I would be, Danny," Casey said. He focused his gaze on the nurse and asked, "Anything I need to sign or do before he can leave?"

"Leave…home…my bed. I love my bed."

Casey patted Dan on the head and said, "That's good to know."

"And I love you, Case," Dan replied, trying to stand up again.

Casey pushed him back down and said, "I love you too, Dan, especially when you're stoned."

The nurse looked from Casey to Dan with a mix if amusement and endearment and said, "There are a few things Mr. Rydell needs to take with him. I'll be right back."

Casey shook his head and glared at Dan once they were alone. He said, "If I weren't so glad you were okay, I'd beat the crap out of you for this."

"It's not nice to beat up cripples."


"And you love me."

Casey smiled and squeezed Dan's shoulder, hoping to convey exactly what he felt, and said, "Yeah, I really do, Danny."

"I would kiss you right now, Casey, except I'd likely slobber all over you."

Casey grimaced. "Excellent image. Thank you for that."

"Can we go home now? I'm exhausted."

"Falling down and going boom will do that to you."

"Shut up."

"Was anyone filming this spectacular feat or do I have to use my imagination?"

"I take it back. I hate you," Dan replied. Dan nudged Casey when the nurse reappeared and added, "Nurse Rita, will you be my new best friend?"

Before she could reply, Casey said, "All I was saying was that only you could get a sky diving injury after the fact. And that it should be recorded for posterity's sake so that future generations can see what a spaz you were."

"Says the man that sprained his ankle getting out of a race car after managing death-defying stunts," Dan replied. He leaned forward and focused his attention on the nurse, saying, "This is why we stick to reporting on sports rather than experiencing them first hand."

The nurse giggled in Dan's direction before turning to Casey with a serious face. She handed him a bag and a pair of crutches. She said, "The doctor explained everything to Mr. Rydell earlier, but there are a few prescriptions in the bag along with a referral to a specialist and what's left of his pants."

Casey stared at her and said, "What did he do to his pants?"

"I resent that you think I did something," Dan commented.

"Do I need to remind you that we're here because you forgot how to walk?"

"I was high on life, my friend. Exhilarated by facing death and laughing in its face."

"You fell and broke your leg. Not the cleverest way to laugh at death."

"You're telling me. I'm a broken man. Literally," Dan replied with a yawn. He chuckled at something only funny to himself and said, "I can't feel my arms or legs. It's awesome, Case."

"Oh, this is going to be such a good New Year's Eve."

The minute Dan's head hit the pillows, he passed out. Casey sat with him for a little while, running his hands through Dan's hair, and said a prayer to whoever was listening. He could deal with a broken leg and a humiliated Dan. It would be annoying, but easy in the long run.

Casey slid out of bed when the phone rang. He hurried to the living room and picked up the phone.

"Casey, how is he?" Dana asked.

"Hello to you too, Dana."


"He's fine. Asleep."

"What happened?"

Casey chuckled, but said, "I think that's Danny's story to tell."

"But he's okay?"

"He'll be fine. Broken leg."

"That's good. And how are you?"

"I'm fine."

"You sure?" Dana paused and Casey knew she was pacing. She added, "Because when you got the call, you were anything but fine."

"That's because the only thing that the idiot said was that he was hurt and in the emergency room."

"But you're okay now?"

"Now that I know he's okay, I'm fine, Dana," Casey replied. He wasn't in the mood to explain that he couldn't really allow himself to think about this too much because it made his head hurt and it became hard not to throw up.

"Good. Well, I'm glad you're both okay. Do you want us to move our New Year's brunch to your place?"

"I think we're going to bail on the brunch. Dan's high as a kite at the moment and I'm exhausted. Not sure we'd be the best guests."

"I'll sneak you guys some pastries."

"Thanks. And try to keep the others from bombarding us with calls all day. I think we're going to spend the day in bed..." Casey said. When he heard his own words echo in his head, he added, "Sleeping, I mean."

"I'm pretending I didn't hear any of that, Casey."

"Except the keeping the others away, right?"

"I'll see what I can do. Call me if you need anything," Dana replied before hanging up.

Casey dropped the phone onto the table and sat down on the sofa, stretching out and running his hands over his face to remove some of the weariness. It wasn't the holiday he had planned, but he found it really hard to be too upset when he knew that Dan was going to be okay.

Casey woke up to fingers tracing along his arm and collarbones, and a head resting on his shoulder. Casey groaned and said, "How the hell did you get out here?"

"Crutches," Dan replied before moving his sliding his fingers along Casey's throat and neck and then up to his hair.

"The man can't walk on two good legs, but cripple him and he turns into a stealth ninja," Casey said, repositioning himself and leaning into Dan's touch.

Dan grinned and said, "You know it." He kissed Casey's neck before trailing kisses along Casey's jaw. He hovered over Casey's lips and said, "Thanks for taking care of me."

Casey shrugged nonchalantly and said, "You'd do the same for me."

Dan kissed him. A quick, chaste kiss before pulling back and running his fingers along Casey's face. He said, "Sorry about ruining the holiday."

"It's not a big deal."

"But we—"

Casey cut him off, "I've been thinking. We put too much pressure on ourselves and this one holiday. So it's not what? That doesn't change what we have."

Dan grinned as his fingers brushed over Casey's lips and said, "That's very mature of you."

Casey nodded, wrapping his arms around Dan and pulling him closer. He said, "Plus, I've got mocking material for a lifetime, buddy."

Dan laughed and kissed Casey. He said, "Happy New Year, Case."

"You too, Dan."