Hiya, I know that this is the Mighty Boosh and I did request a Nathan Barley section yesterday. So, hopefully one will arrive soon (but if you lot wanna add on on the pressure... =]) and when/if it does I will post this on there instead but for now, it doesn't exist and the characters are still Julian and Noel, right? And other people have posted them here so...
Sorry if you don't like it!
D/C: Nathan Barley and all associated characters belong to Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris.
"Dan… Dan… Dan. What are you going to do about it? Dan!"
"What?" hissed the angered man.
"What are you going to do about this?" she asked, holding up Barley's latest SugaRape article entitled 'Clairebabes'. He looked at it for a second before concluding;
"Nothing I can do. Barley's a permanent fixture. They wont let me get rid of him."
"Dan!" she cried, "That's not what I meant. I meant, what are you going to do about the fact that he's completely destroyed my privacy and…" Dan allowed the drivel to wash over him. He didn't care, she knew he didn't care but she was still forcing him to listen. It was ridiculous and time consuming and altogether pointless. He'd rather be at home wallowing in self-pity. He looked up at his ranting little sister, who was quickly turning red with fury. Maybe it was time to tune back in; "…you don't even care, do you?" she spat.
"Why aren't you listening to me?"
"I am." Dan lied, staring at his now cold coffee. He wasn't sure why he hadn't binned it straight away. He couldn't stomach it and there were two reasons for that; one, it had scrambled egg and salmon in it (thanks to bloody Nathan Barley) and two, it reminded him of him. He was vaguely aware of Claire's continuing rampage in the background but he was skilled at blocking out all unwanted noise. That was one of the advantages of living with him.
He let the monotony drone on until he'd absolutely had enough. He got up in silence and trudged off, hands deep in his pockets, a laboured, heavy walk. He was pretty sure he heard Claire say something about the bill. He should have felt guilty but he didn't. He hated himself.
"Is this your key?"
Dan's heart sank. He turned to find himself face to face with the builder from the pub, or more poignantly the pub toilets. He snatched the key and unlocked the door in silence, walked in and slammed it in this guy's face. Dan didn't like to bring work home with him.
The obnoxious music subsided as he entered the living room.
"Alright Dan." smiled the DJ a little coyly. Dan nodded curtly before slumping onto the tattered sofa and closing his eyes.
"You look awful." commented Jones as he prepared himself for the next five hour song. Dan made an odd mumbling noise, which might have had the words 'bit rich' incorporated somewhere within it. Jones just smiled, he knew what Dan needed;
"Help music." he offered. "It'll de-stress you. Like therapy in musical form. Oooo, soft, like marshmallow."
Dan's eyes snapped open to glare at the caffeine-high DJ, who said; "Shut up?"
Dan nodded and closed his eyes again in a feeble attempt to relax, although his jaw was still tensed from holding back a day of resentment.
In reality, Jones' music style was as far from tranquil and relaxing as it is physically possible to be, but to Dan it was soothing because, to Dan, it felt like home; it felt like Jones. He waited patiently for the onslaught of noise to blow away today's memory cobwebs but it didn't come. Instead, the silence was broken by a loud tap-tapping on the front door.
"Someone's at the door." Jones pointed out unhelpfully.
"Aren't you going to answer it?"
"No, I'm going to ignore it."
Dan did weird little things like this sometimes. Jones had learnt to get used to them. However, the man outside didn't seem to like being ignored and the tap-tapping of knuckles on wood quickly became the thump-thumping of fist on wood.
"I think they really want to come in."
"Hmph." was Dan's only response, other than to force a cushion down over his head.
Jones just shrugged, turning his full attention to the decks and, as the loud music started up, Dan felt thankful that the waterfall of noise was drowning out the sound of the knocking.
After a minute or so, Jones's suddenly stopped mid-song. From beneath his cushion barricade Dan frowned. Jones never stopped in the middle of a song, not for anything. He pulled the cushion off his face and peered in confusion at the man.
"That knocking's proper ruining the flow of the music." frowned Jones in answer to the unasked question. "Why are we ignoring it?"
"Because he's an idiot, hammering at the door of reality trying to escape the precipice of his own idiot world."
Jones seemed to think about this before coming to the conclusion of; "You're weird sometimes. I'm gonna let him in."
"S'alright I'm halfway there."
Jones grabbed his money from the table, fully expecting to have to pay off some kind of loan shark (not that Dan knew he did this. Dan seemed to think his debts just disappeared magically. Or maybe he did know but was too proud to ever thank Jones directly. Dan probably found it easier to ignore everything that Jones did for him because it prevented him having to face up to what a failure he had become). After expecting the worst, the site of a man dressed in a West Ham shirt, fidgeting, needily at his door came as a bit of a surprise.
"Alright." Jones frowned.
"I'm looking for Dan."
"Right… he's not in."
"I just saw him come in here."
"No you didn't. Can I help at all?"
"No, I need Dan."
"I want him to… I need him to do what he…" he blushed, "Can you just get him for me please?"
"He's not here." repeated Jones, bemused by how desperate and jumpy the man seemed. "You're all tense. I think you need some music to calm you down."
"Oh, I know." Jones interrupted, placing headphones on his unsuspecting victim. "You'll love this one." He cranked up the volume as loud as it would go and pressed play.
The man's face scrunched up in disgust and pain.
"What's this?" he shouted, throwing the headphones back at the furious man.
"It's called 'Leave Dan Alone'." Jones slammed the door, muttering; "Idiot."
When he returned to the living room, Dan managed a flimsy half-smile.
"No problem." beamed the DJ and, just as he was about to start the song, he added; "I only did it 'cause it was ruining my creative flow."
"Yeah." agreed Dan and the music played. They both knew this was a lie but sometimes the lie is easier to face than the truth. Dan lay back on the sofa and rammed the cushion over his face again, allowing it to steal some of his breath, as he let Jones' 'therapy' take him over. This was a fairly normal evening, all things considered.
The loathsome buzzer sliced through Dan and he pushed the door open to the SugeRape offices. He pulled himself up the stairs and sighed deeply as Sasha held out a piece of paper.
"Tom Stone rang," she said, "he wants to organise a time for his interview about the flying pigs."
"I'm not interviewing him. He's an idiot."
"Right, so would that be a 'no' to Eye patch Eddie too then?"
Dan nodded. He nodded like he did everything else; dejectedly.
"Okay." sighed Sasha, binning the note.
"Yep, I think so."
Dan began to walk to his desk when Sasha spoke up again; "Oh, and Jones rang."
"Yeah, but apparently it's not important. He says ring him when you can."
Dan took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "Okay, thanks."
His desk was unusually devoid of all things Barley-esque but Ned and Rufus were still hanging about, impossible to get rid off; like the incurable plague.
"Dan, Dan, let's play 'You Spy'. You gotta say an object and then we'll go and find it. It's well retro." shouted Rufus.
"Idiots play it 'cause they think it's cool 'cause it's old. But actually it's cool 'cause it's like something old… but it's not old, 'cause it's new." Ned explained, using idiot logic in a way only a true idiot can.
"Yeah, go on Dan. Give us an object to find."
"Hammock." That should keep them looking for hours.
He flopped into his chair drilling his head into the keyboard of his computer. He hated this life. At least it was loud here, distracting. It stopped him thinking about him for too long. Then again, he had phoned. Maybe he'd changed his mind.
Dan picked up the receiver and punched in Jones' number. He knew it off by heart. Of course he did. Jones seemed to take an age to answer. Dan drummed his fingers impatiently on the desk. He was just contemplating hanging up when a voice answered; "Hello."
"Jones?" He asked stupidly.
"Dan." was the bitter-short response.
"Yeah, er, you rang earlier."
"Oh yeah, it's about flat." Oh. Dan couldn't help but feel disappointed. "I'm not living there anymore, obviously so I have to sell it. I've been talking to the estate agent and they say that if you and Claire want it then you have first claim of right. If not, it goes on sale Friday. Either way, can you let me know by the end of the week?"
"Right, yeah. No problem." Dan ran a hand through his hair. He knew he couldn't afford the mortgage, not on his salary. It looked like Claire and he would be out on the streets. Well, not Claire. She'd survive like she always did. She'd probably have to move in with Dickshit Barley until she got back on her feet but she'd manage. Dan, on the other hand, was as good as homeless. Both men knew it, which had rendered them both incapable of filling the ever lengthening silence.
"Bye then." Jones said eventually.
"Look, don't do this." Dan garbled quickly. His words falling over each other in the race to leave his mouth.
"Just come home."
"I am home, my new home."
"To me, come home to me. Please. I… I need you." Dan cringed at how whiney he sounded. He hated whining. It was one of Jones' worst habits. One of Jones' worst habits which Dan craved desperately. It wasn't his fault. Jones was addictive and Dan was an addict.
"Why don't you invite him back?" Jones snapped jealously.
"That was just work."
"And that comes first, does it?"
"Yes. No! No, I meant no."
"Fuck off Dan."
"Look, it didn't mean anything."
"Nothing means anything to you." He hung up.
Dan leant back in his chair pulling his hands down his face exasperatedly. He thought about the day this had all started, the first night they'd slept together. It hadn't been about love that night. It had been all about passion. The cumulative tension. The perfect release.
And after that? Well, it had never been cosy cuddles or tender touches and they'd never spoken of love but it had been… special. Now, there was nothing, except an empty void where Jones should have been.
It hadn't taken long for Jones' curiosity to get the better of him. By the next day he was badgering Dan to tell him who the man was but Dan was resolute and just kept replying with the same two words: "No one."
He was hoping the DJ would give up sooner or later. He should have known better. Dan's reluctance to talk only served to make him more eager to discover the truth. Jones may not ask questions often but he liked to know what was happening in Dan's life, partially because he was interested but mainly because he was jealous.
"He knew where you lived." pressed the energetic young man following Dan into the bathroom. Did the little prick have no concept of privacy?
"He followed me home." Dan answered, grudgingly giving in to the interrogation assault.
"Because he's an idiot."
"Nathan Barley's" (Dan visibly cringed at the name.) "an idiot. He's never followed you home."
Dan didn't have a reply. He just washed his hands and collapsed onto the sofa in moody silence, fully aware that Jones was staring at him expectantly in the doorway.
"Well… who is he?" repeated Jones eventually.
"Just someone I had to do an article on."
"Oh." He finally seemed satisfied and went off to the kitchen to make a coffee, offering Dan one as he went. Dan thanked him and went to get Nathan's laptop. He'd have to write this damned article at some point, better now so that he could put the whole sordid incident behind him.
Straight On Straight; Gay Action.
After some personal research I found that
"So…" Jones started, handing Dan a mug and peering over his shoulder at the article. Dan tried to shut down the document but he was too late. The DJ had seen and was now staring at the blank screen looking dismayed.
"Wh-what does that mean?" he asked shakily.
"It's just an article." Dan reassure him.
"What does 'personal research' involve Dan?"
Dan shook his head determinedly. He did not want to discuss this with anyone, least of all Jones.
"Dan?" He could hear the hurt and anger in Jones voice. He knew a fight was coming and he really wasn't up for it. "Dan!" Jones repeated, warning tears shining in his fiery blue eyes.
Dan sighed. There was really no way around this. He'd have to explain. As he retold the traitorous story, he saw Jones getting more and more worked up. Each word pushing him further towards the red. By the time he finished, Jones was shaking violently. Dan tried to touch his shoulder to comfort him but the smaller man pulled away sharply and said bitterly;
"Is that the hand you used?"
"It's not like that. I used gloves."
"And that makes it okay, does it? That's like saying it's okay to fuck other people as long as you're wearing a condom because then your not quite touching so it doesn't really count."
"You're being ridiculous."
"Leave." Jones seethed.
"Leave." he repeated, pointing at the door.
"Jones…" Dan whispered. He didn't know what he was going to say but he had to say something.
"Don't. Just go."
"Can I come back?"
Jones shrugged. Dan left.
Claire was sat on the sofa editing her new film relishing the peace that Jones' absence had brought. She hadn't asked where Jones had gone and she wasn't really bothered. She just took advantage of the extra space and the newfound quiet in the flat. It was almost like living alone again, especially as Dan seemed to want to spend even less time in the house than he had before. The door suddenly slammed against the wall, which had recently become the telltale sign that Dan was home.
"Alright Dan." she called. He ignored her. He didn't fancy talking. "Good day?" she continued.
"Fine." She sighed turning back to the laptop whilst he went to get the whiskey bottle from the fridge.
"We've gotta move out." he announced on his return.
"He's selling the flat." He still couldn't bring himself to say Jones' name out loud even after... how long had it been? A week, two.
"What about us? What are we supposed to do?"
He shrugged, partly because he didn't know and partly because he didn't want to think about it.
"He says if we don't buy it by the end of the week, we're out." He sat down on the sagging sofa and wished it would keep sagging until it swallowed him up forever. It didn't, it just sagged until there were a few springs sticking in his back and he could feel wooden slats against his legs. He stared at the ceiling. He was pretty sure that Claire was frowning at him but he wasn't about to check. He just closed his eyes wishing that she or he could disappear.
Just as he felt like he was drifting off, Claire said something that brought him back to reality with sickening twist of the gut.
"Where's he gone Dan?"
He only went to the pub. He'd sat there for a while until the SugaRape lot arrived.
"PREACHER MAN!" Barley had yelled and that had been Dan's cue to leave.
He'd walked the long way home. It would give him more time to prepare an appropriate apology and it took him past the charity shop. He strolled in and chose a disgusting, bald, dog-chewed doll, with one eye and one arm. Jones would love it. Dan had once spent a small fortune on a beautiful collectors toy of a small boy in a kilt for Jones. He'd accepted it politely but he hadn't really become attached to it until it had been knocked off the bedside cabinet in the melee of one of their late night excursions.
"Now it's got history." Jones had grinned elatedly, putting the doll with it's newly smashed face and broken leg in pride of place at the front of his decks. After that Dan had decided to save his money and pick up the pre-broken toys from the charity shop for 50p.
When he got home, he was immediately concerned by the lack of noise. He walked anxiously into the living room, head dipped (looking at the floor), holding out the doll as a second-hand peace offering. He waited for the reaction; either a scream of joy, or a sob of sorrow, or a cry of rage. But no sound came. He looked up and his heart stopped. The decks were gone. The pictures were gone. The garish coloured ornaments, the bright wall decorations, the clock; gone, gone, gone. Everything that was bright had gone. Everything that was Jones had gone. Now Dan was just left with unremitting grey. Grey walls, grey feelings, grey life.
There was a note. Dan thought that that was unusually perspicacious of the DJ. It wasn't a long note. It didn't say much, not that there was much to say. Jones wasn't a writer. He couldn't express his feelings in words like Dan could. So he'd kept it short and simple, like himself.
Gone to Malia. Bigger gigs, better pay.
Dan ripped up the paper and let the remnants fall to the floor. He didn't need a reminder of what moron he'd been, of how he'd let the only thing he truly cared about slip through his fingers like the remnants of a torn up note.
"…and now he's left." Dan finished, he'd hardly shown any emotion as he'd spoken and, surprisingly, neither had Claire. She hadn't even batted an eyelid when he'd said that he and Jones were a… "we're an 'we'" he'd explained awkwardly because he still wasn't really sure what they were. He'd expected some sort of reaction to that revelation but Claire had just nodded and that's when it had dawned on Dan 'she already knew'. Maybe he and Jones hadn't been as secretive as they thought they had.
Now, his sister was just looking at him expectantly.
"So…" she said "what are you going to do about it then?"
"There's nothing I can do."
"Argh! You're so defeatist Dan."
"Not defeatist, practical." He corrected her. "I don't even know what I could do."
"Go to Malia, find him, bring him home. You've got to fight for him."
"I…" he started, but he had nothing to follow it so he just shut up and proceeded to get better acquainted with his knees. Deep down he knew Claire was right. He should fight; not just for Jones but against all the adversity in his life but what was the point? The idiots would only destroy his efforts, again. They'd won this time, like they'd won every time before. He'd never admit it out loud but he knew it wasn't even a battle anymore; it had become a massacre. The idiots had demolished everything he cared about and now they'd taken Jones too.
"It's the idiots." he complained eventually, "They're…"
"It's not the idiots Dan!" she interjected. "It's never been the idiots. You can't keep blaming them just because you haven't achieved your dreams. I always wondered why you never made it but now I see the reason."
"When it gets a bit tough, Dan Ashcroft just gives up and blames everyone around him. You can never accept that you're the problem. You need to sort this out."
Dan frowned, he was completely confused; "But it's the idiots." he repeatedly dumbly.
"No, Dan it's you. Grow a fucking backbone."
Dan stared at his suitcase. He'd packed it over an hour ago. He'd written a list, checked it (twice). Then packed. Then unpacked because he thought he'd forgotten his toothbrush. He hadn't. And now he was sat there, with no more excuses as to why he couldn't go to the airport other than cowardice. Unfortunately, in Dan's world, cowardice was a pretty good excuse. He was just about to start unpacking it all again when Jones walked through the door.
Dan's jaw just dropped. He stared at Jones. His long hair was tangled, his shirt was creased to death, his eyeliner had smudged down his face and… had he got even thinner?
"Can I offer you some 'sorry music'?" The DJ asked quietly. Dan got up in silence and walked over to the DJ stopping just a few foot away. They just stood looking at each other. Jones was shaking a little nervously and gasped as Dan grabbed him roughly and pulled him into a big bear-hug. Jones was completely dumbstruck for a moment or two before realising he was supposed to hug back. He put his skinny arms awkwardly around the bigger man and pressed his head against his shoulder, closing his eyes to better take in the sensation of being held. Dan never held him; not like this.
When he finally opened his eyes, he spotted the suitcase sitting in the middle of the room.
"Hey, why are your bags packed?" He asked, detaching himself and walking over to the case.
"No reason." Dan lied, trying to snatch the outbound label away but he wasn't quick enough. Jones had seen and he beamed at the other man giggling;
"Fuck off Jones."
"Don't say it."
"No it isn't."
"It is. You were gonna come and find me. You do care."
"Hmm. Never said I didn't care, did I?" He mumbled. Then added; "I'm really sorry Jones. It didn't mean anything, I swear. I just really needed the money and…"
"I love you." interrupted the DJ catching Dan completely off guard, leaving him gaping and muttering incoherently. "You're kinda supposed to say it back…" encouraged Jones gently "it's like tradition, or something."
"I'm not traditional." The mutter continued.
"Daaaaaan" whined the DJ loudly.
"I flew back from Malia for you, you bastard. At least let me know it was worth it."
"Fine, I love you." he mumbled at the floor.
"And I'm sure the floorboards love you too. Now, tell me."
"You're a prick."
"Okay, okay." Dan sighed, lifting his head and looking Jones straight in the eye, "I love you Jones."
Dan's gut twisted as he said it. He'd never really let anyone in before. He'd never trusted anyone enough before now and opening the door, after all those years, was a slightly nauseating experience. Dan wasn't sure it was worth it, but then he saw Jones beaming back at him and he raised a half smile. Anything would be worth getting a mega-watt smile like that everyday. Anything.
Thanks for reading, let me know what you think.