Summary: Episode tag/coda to Mary Pat Shelby. After having a bit to drink Danny confesses that he understands Natalie's situation a little too well.
Notes: Concrit appreciated, first fic in fandom :) just had the idea stuck in my head and wanted to get it down somewhere
Natalie was on a quest. A quest to find Dan. Now whilst there were limited places that Dan could be, this was still a quest Natalie had every intention of fulfilling.
Its the little things that get you through the day, that got Natalie through the day. In comparison with the big things, such as the press following her around and everyone walking on eggshells around her, which tended to make getting through the day like wading through clay.
Nonetheless, she was happy, she was positive. It was Elliot's birthday and Natalie was on a quest.
Circumnavigating the empty beer bottles on the floor (and wondering if she should start drinking so she wouldn't be the one who had to clean up later due to her high level of sobriety) Natalie breezed through the control room and into the dark studio.
"Dan?" Natalie questioned the Dan-shaped shadow, half laying across the desk.
"Hey Natalie," Dan answered as she trotted over and jumped up to sit on the desk.
"Hey Dan," she said with a smile, looking at the back of his head and toying with the idea of petting his slightly mussed hair.
"Hey Natalie," he said again, turning his head slightly so he could look up at her.
"Hey Dan," she smiled. "You seem to be slightly inebriated."
"Possibly," he murmured turning back to the desk top.
"Yes," he said, tilting his head back to look at her. "Hey Natalie."
"You doing okay now?" he asked.
"I'm doing better," she answered; giving in and running a hand through his hair.
"That's good," he nodded; although it was slightly hard to tell. "You're kinda' lucky you know?"
Natalie withdrew her hand. "How'd you figure that?"
"You had people to look out for you, who cared. Who noticed something was wrong," he continued.
"Yes I did," she answered eventually. Danny seemed to take this as an invitation to continue.
"I mean it could have been much worse."
"How so?" she asked, frowning.
"I mean, imagine if you'd been a guy. You wouldn't have been able to tell anybody-"
"You wouldn't have been able to report it. I mean your career would have been over before it even began," Danny continued, no longer looking at Natalie or the table but at the cameras in front of them in the darkened studio. "He could have got his PR rep to ring your executive producer to tell them that you have a rapport, that he wants you to do all his interviews."
"Danny," Natalie began, not knowing how to continue.
"You were lucky, Natalie," he finished quietly.
"I was," she answered, combing her fingers through his hair again.
"Do we have more beer Natalie?"
"Do you even remember what it is we're celebrating?" she asked with a small smile.
"It's Elliot's birthday," she told him.
"We should go and sing to him," Dan said sitting up abruptly. "Screw copyright on that song, we should go and sing Happy Birthday to Elliot!"
"We already did," Natalie told him.
"Let's go and do it again," he exclaimed, getting unsteadily to his feet and wandering round the desk to give Natalie a hand off of it.
"Okay," she agreed as they walked back to the newsroom. "And then I'll get Casey to drive you home."
"Okay," Danny said, stumbling slightly as he tried to avoid the bottles on the control room floor. "Natalie?"
"You're not going to tell Casey what we just talked about are you?"
"That I'm lucky?" she asked gently, stopping him just outside the door to the control room.
"Yeah, that you're lucky. And my," he paused drawing his attention away from the group of people gathered in the newsroom and back to her. "And my hypothetical example as to why."
Natalie smiled reassuringly at him, and reached up to brush away a lock of hair that was far to short to get into his eyes in the first place. "I wont tell Casey."
"Thanks," he said before turning and wandering back over to the group, arms wide. "Elliot my friend! I think it is time we sang to you once more."
Natalie watched as Danny serenaded Elliot. He was on his own to begin with but he was gradually joined by everyone else.
Dana caught her eye and smiled; letting her know that her Danny-hunting quest was fulfilled. But Natalie already had a new quest in mind.
It was the little things that got Natalie through the day.
But the big things, the big things Natalie geared up for.