As a writer, Casey McCall had a natural affinity for words.

He loved how they sounded and how they could have multiple meanings. He enjoyed finding new ways to combine them cleverly so he could sound smart or witty. Casey was always amazed at how words could convey emotions and messages simply by being arranged in the right way. But the thing that Casey enjoyed the most about words was how they felt in his mouth as he spoke them. There was nothing better than a well chosen word rolling off of his tongue.

Very much to the chagrin of his partner Dan Rydell.

Normally Casey's obsession with anything and everything verbal wasn't a problem. Sure he would agonize over the wording of things while writing his script for Sports Night, but that was normal. Danny did the same thing, and on a regular basis, they would consult one another on what sounded better in a sentence. But some days, Casey would let his love of language get out of hand.

"Tem-pes-tu-ous." Slowly and carefully annunciating every syllable of what was quickly turning into one of his favorite words, Casey savored every sound. "Temmm–pestuous." Leaning back in his chair, Casey looked at the half-empty page on the computer screen before him. Watching the little marker blink patiently for his next word, the anchor tried out the word once again. "Tempesss-tuous."

Not bothering to look up from the paper he was taking notes on, Dan shifted his eyes up to look at his partner. Watching Casey prepare himself for another round of 'Casey McCall's Guide to Enjoying Language,' Danny finally lifted his head up. Forgetting about his notes, the man pushed his chair away from the desk a few inches so that he could take in the full scope of the situation.

"Tem… PES… Tu… OUS."

"Case?" Waiting for his partner to respond, Dan twisted his chair slightly from side to side.


"What's going on?"

"Nothing. Why?" Watching Dan swiveling around in his seat, Casey silently mouthed yet another variation on his word of the day.

Rolling his eyes, Danny couldn't help but wonder if his partner was engaging in his round of word play subconsciously. It wouldn't be the first time his subconscious got the better of him after all. "What's with 'Fifty Ways to Pronounce a Word' over there?"

"I am merely practicing and expressing my love for words and language." Starring at Dan, Casey spread out his arms as if to say, 'isn't it perfectly obvious?'

"Yeah… But why are you doing it?"

"Because Daniel, I am a writer. I'm supposed to enjoy and show my appreciation for words." Casey stared at his partner as if this should be the most obvious thing in the world. Pulling himself back towards his desk, the anchor sat with his fingers hovering over his keyboard. "You know, I'm really surprised that you don't stop to enjoy language more."

"Whoa there buddy, I appreciate words." Tired of twisting in the chair, Danny placed both of his feet on the ground. "I just don't feel the need to…" Searching for the right analogy, the anchor began to wave his pen around. "Marinate them."

"Oooh, marinating. I like that. Marinating words." Smiling and nodding as if he'd just stumbled upon some great revelation, Casey began rocking his chair back and forth mirroring the movements of his head.

Very tempted to throw something at his best friend, Danny pondered how much damage a stapler would do. However, he decided to go with the tape dispenser instead since he was more likely to need the stapler in the near future. Opening his mouth to respond, the anchor was cut off when Natalie poked her mousy brown head in the door.

"Hey guys, rundown is in five minutes." Tapping on the doorframe, the woman turned to leave when she was called back.

"Natalie, how do you feel about the word tempestuous?" Casey moved from his desk to stand in front of the petite woman. Looking deeply into her eyes, he gently grabbed her shoulders in order to fully convey the seriousness of the question.

"I think it's a fine word, Casey. I mean, it's not my favorite, but it's nice enough. Why?" Much to Dan's dismay, the look on her face was one of genuine interest.

"Oh Natalie…. Save yourself. Don't ask." Absentmindedly sticking the pen behind his ear, Dan joined his colleagues by the door.

"Danny has this idea about marinating words…"

Grabbing the back of his friend's shirt, Dan pulled Casey away from a confused Natalie and pushed him through the door. "If you don't want to hear about this for the next week, Nat, you will walk away now. Trust me. Just walk away."

"Come on, Danny, just say it with me. Just once. Tem…" Stumbling down the hall with Dan's knuckles pressed into his back, Casey begged and pleaded with his partner to try out his word of the day.

As a writer, Dan Rydell had a natural respect for words. So much so that he thoroughly refused to marinate them. Ever.

Squeeka Cuomo's Notes

- Katie, thank you so much. I can't wait for SF to open:duck: