Just Do It
In response to the Happy meme, posted at the SandfordPolice community. Danny believes a romantic relationship with his best friend is impossible until a late night confession.
Danny accepted he was big guy and didn't really mind he had a keg instead of a six pack. What was the point in living if you didn't enjoy yourself? So he went ahead and ate what he wanted and wouldn't touch light beer with a ten-foot pole.
However, it was fairly depressing when he had tried to put on a pair of trousers and couldn't get the zipper to zip. No amount of sucking it in was going to help, and these where his church pants, soon to be his court pants, and Danny and Nick were supposed to be leaving in an hour. During Danny's recovery from the business end of a blunderbuss, he ate nonstop, and nobody had said anything while he blew up like a house. He was not easily embarrassed, but his face still burned when he had to tell Nick what the hold up was.
"Nick…," all forlorn, still lying down on his bed, "I think I've grown as a person."
Nick seemed relieved it was a wardrobe malfunction, rather than jitters and lured Danny out of his flat with the promise of new trousers, and telling him not to worry so much. Danny found all this niceness irritating.
"Why didn't you say anything? If you were really my friend, you'd say: "Danny, put down that cake, your ass is getting wide."
Nick gave him that funny look, "Well for one, I wouldn't say that. And two, I hadn't even noticed."
Somehow, that was more depressing. Danny was forever in the friend zone, like the brother you never had, cute, but never thought of in that way. At least he could tell himself it was because Nick was straight and not disinterested for other reasons, so Danny was fully prepared to take all that unrequited love and put it in the corner of his mind. It would probably give him tumor, but whatever…so long as Nick was in his life, Danny was satisfied.
Several weeks passed by after the trouser incident, when the issue of his health came up again. Danny had seen his doctor, well, his new doctor, and received the usual lecture regarding his health: eat less, drink less, and exercise more. Danny nodded to whatever his doctor said, knowing he wasn't going to do any of these things. Oh, there had been a time when he was young and naïve, and had tried to get in shape with diet gimmicks. There were the pills and workout machines advertised at 2 a.m. He'd bought a sort of belt that was supposed to workout your abs for you while you watch the telly, but all it did was vibrate. He had bought a vibrator for his stomach, awesome. The pills didn't make the fat burn off and all the gadgets wound up in the bin or collected dust.
Then he did something he would learn to regret shortly after. When Nicholas asked about his checkup, Danny had casually mentioned his cholesterol was too high, which lead to his friend getting all excited about having a "workout buddy". Danny smiled, nodded, and thought, Dear God, kill me now. Danny knew Nick meant what he said when he started to prattle on about the importance of fiber.
"Um, can I stop you right there?"
"Sure, go ahead." Nick waited expectedly. Apparently he thought there was more. Silly rabbit.
"So you're not going to do anything about this?"
"Nick, I've been on a diet my whole life."
"You're not on a diet right now are you?"
"No," Danny said, sullen, stopped eating his ice cream. Can't a guy self-destruct in peace?
"I bet I could make those pants fit again."
"I'm sure you could too, but will I survive it? You have this tendency to go overboard with things. I mean, who really needs that many vitamin supplements in their medicine cabinet?"
"Wait," Nick's brow furrowed, "You've been going through my medicine cabinet?"
"Look, you'll feel better and have more energy. And if I recall correctly, you practically accused me of not looking out for you, so first thing tomorrow you're going with me on my morning run."
"At six-thirty in the bloody morning? I don't think so."
"You're going," Nick said. "It'll be fun. You'll see."
"No, I won't."
"Besides," Nick continued, completely ignoring him, "you have to live longer than me and you won't at the rate you're going."
"What do you expect me die of? Old age?"
"You can die however you want, so long as it's after me. I'd get too lonely."
"Aww. So once you're dead, I can eat whatever I want?"
"No," Nick grinned, "I've arranged it in my will that you're to be buried with me. So I suspect you'll die of asphyxiation shortly after my death."
"You know, there's such a thing as spending too much time together."
That was the last time Danny would be so honest with Nicholas again. The only thing worse than a moody Nicholas, was a perky one waking you at the crack of dawn to go running. Nicholas wore spotless white shorts, white trainers, and shirt buttoned all the way up to the collar. Danny had to resist the urge to undo a button, if he didn't end up strangling Nick first.
"Hey, champ!" Nicholas shook Danny's shoulder and pulled the curtains open. Danny groaned and covered his head with the comforter.
"How did you even get in here," Danny asked, his voice muffled and not feeling very awake.
"You gave me a key."
Oh right, it might've been easier to avoid this, if he had remembered that little detail.
"Hey, can I have that back…"
"No," Nick said cheerfully, "Come on, we're wasting daylight."
Maybe…if he stayed really still and played dead, Nicholas would just…go away for a few hours, and he could get some sleep. That was the plan until Nicholas started to yank the comforter down. Danny went from sleep mode to red alert in two seconds flat, clutching his blankets in terror.
"OY! I'M NAKED!"
A few seconds passed, with Danny looking down his bed at Nicholas and Nicholas looking back at him, the comforter bunched in both fists.
"Are you really," Nicholas asked, with an uncertain grin on his face.
Nicholas seemed to consider this and shrugged.
"I'll take my chances," Nick said, and continued to pull the comforter with Danny sliding down his mattress along with it.
"ALRIGHT, GODDAMMIT, I'LL GO, I'LL GO!"
Ten minutes later, Danny came out of his bedroom wearing a t-shirt and shorts. He gave Nicholas the most deadly, rebellious stare he could muster. It wasn't hard.
"Don't worry, it gets easier after awhile."
"Yeah, sure," Danny muttered, leaving behind valuable sleeping time, "And butts might fly out of my monkey."
"Nothing," Danny called out.
Danny didn't so much as run, as jog, and by jogging he meant trotting along beside Nicholas, and by trotting, he meant total agony. When they stopped to rest by the primary school, Danny wiped his brow and was glad they didn't have breakfast first like he suggested.
"How we doing," Nicholas asked, patting Danny's shoulder. Danny bent down, spat on the ground, and wiped his mouth. Object of his Affection be damned, he didn't care if he offended Nick's delicate sensibilities right then. He was quite fed up with Nick's "I know what's best for you" attitude at the moment. Danny puffed, looked up into Nick's concerned face.
"You're not even sweaty!"
Afterwards they headed to Nick's place (a shorter distance than Danny's flat) and had vegetarian omelets. Danny sat down, simply grateful to be somewhere with air conditioning, watching Nick make some sort of smoothie. If he didn't drop from a heart attack that green sludge would surely kill him.
"Today was good. How do you feel?"
"It will get easier, after awhile."
"You keep saying that," Danny said, leaning against the counter. Nicholas poured two glasses of sludge and handed one to Danny.
Off Danny's look, Nick said, "Try it."
Danny did what he was told, and to his credit didn't spit it back into the cup. Nicholas missed this act of utter devotion and finished his omelets, bringing their plates to the kitchen table. Danny followed, sat down, and they started eating.
"Oh, don't forget about those PDR forms," Nick said, "The Home Office wants them in by Monday."
While he was away a new appraisal system had started that required Sergeants and Inspectors to complete a long and complicated form, carry out a risk assessment, fill out a supervisor's check list, and then send it to personnel with a covering memo. In other words it was a big pain in the ass. It was the sort of mind-numbing drudgery that made him long for John Woo action instead of his desk. Why even give them patrol cars, if everybody was inside doing paperwork? To his delight, Nicholas agreed with him.
"So why do they want us to fill those things out again?"
"To monitor and record our 'professional development', set diversity objectives and list our skills and 'competencies'. Or something of the sort. A waste of time is what it really is."
"Yeah. Okay. So who even decides on all that?"
"I asked but couldn't get a straight answer."
"Doesn't the Home Office require us to cut down on paperwork?"
"So…they give us more paperwork? What the hell do they want?"
"They don't know. How's the smoothie?"
"It's…great," Danny said. To prove this he took a big swig of it and felt a chunk of something in his mouth. He gulped it down with a lot of effort and tears in his eyes.
"You don't have to drink that," Nick said, amused.
"Thank you," Danny wheezed and pushed the drink away, thoroughly relived.
Nick chuckled to himself, looking up on occasion and smiling at Danny through the rest of breakfast. It had the effect of making butterflies in Danny's stomach, but he easily convinced himself it was the smoothie.
Danny hated running, hated it with a burning passion. The only running he ever did was by accident. Sure, he had played rugby when he was younger, but "younger" was a long time ago. And honestly, unless you're were heading toward the arms of a true love, breaking through social barriers, or just escaping a powerful cyborg sent from the future to destroy mankind, there wasn't any good reason to run.
His shins hurt from the impact. His ankles rolled easily whenever he attempted speed. There was a lot of huffing and puffing. It was boring. And he was falling down more than usual. The only thing about running he enjoyed was when he got to stop.
And then there was Nick.
"Danny, time to wake up."
"Come on, then. I thought country boys were used to getting up early?"
Danny groaned, instinctively curled in to himself, and cracked his eyes at a smirking Nicholas standing over him. Nicholas looked momentarily disappointed and sighed.
"Oh well. Nice jammies by the way. Boats…sexy."
"Vurryfunny," Danny rubbed his eyes, looked at his alarm clock and scowled. "It's not even six-thirty yet! Are you completely mental?"
Nick checked his watch, gave it a tap, completely unconcerned with the question of his sanity. "Hmm. Perhaps my watch is a bit fast. Sorry." He frowned and then added brightly, "Well you're awake now, so we might as well warm up. Are those schooners or frigates? I can never tell."
"Frigates," Danny growled, "And I don't wear jammies."
They did the stretching exercises, warmed up, and then Danny endured one point five miles of torture. During such time Danny became reflective, philosophical really, about Nick being a complete nutter.
Danny had known Nicholas was crazy, but it hadn't really bothered him until now. Danny accepted his friend was disgustingly fussy and organized. He understood that Nicholas needed to color-code his post-it notes. That he believed filing in triplicate was perfectly normal. That he divided his closet into sections: weekend clothes, workday clothes and dressy clothes. That he straightened the books on other people's book shelves. That was fine, so long as Nicholas didn't try to convert Danny to his mad idea of 'effectiveness'.
It went on for weeks. Just how pushy could Nicholas Angel be? Very. Just how lazy could Danny be? Very. But Nick refused to accept this fact, even after the bus incident. They had been jogging along, and there was the St Vincent bus just waiting there, so Danny let himself fall behind Nicholas. Just as the bus was about to leave Danny ran to the door and boarded the bus. It was the sort of public transportation timing that hadn't been seen since Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. The bus sped off and Danny had cheerfully waved to a completely dumbfounded Nicholas.
Danny had felt pretty good about his decision for a whole five minutes, but unfortunately there was no Simon and Garfunkle music to make him feel better. They had finally bumped into to each other at headquarters, and Nick looked pissed, but that was how he usually looked. Danny had learned a long time ago that Nick was all bark and no bite, unless there were crimes to be had. Danny leaned back in his chair and smiled at him. This was what happened when an unstoppable force met an immovable object.
"I vill break you."
"Doubtful. You'd have to get off your ass first."
"So I run out to the parking lot, right? And I hop on my dirt bike, but oh no, it won't start, and Nick is slowly walking towards me. Slowly, slowly, in an almost casual manner, and just when he's about to reach me, I finally get my bike to work. I drive that little bike as fast as it can go, but Nick starts running after me in that robotic way that he does, hinting at his inhuman abilities. I leap over a hedge and onto the street, hoping to lose him, but he commandeers a semi-truck and chases me down the Los Angeles River, which isn't really a river, more like a really big ditch. And Nick says, 'You must do the thing you think you cannot do', all Zen and shit, but what I'm doing is sweating my balls off."
"Um, okay," Doris sipped her tea, "How much of that really happened, Danny?"
"The last part, you dizzy dame. I don't own a dirt bike."
"I know. But seriously, it was a lot like that."
It was unusually quiet in the bullpen, even for Sandford Police Headquarters. Or temporary headquarters, rather, having moved what was left of the old one into the former Lloyds Bank on Park Street. They wouldn't be moving again until April. The new building was being built on the original site, having been conveniently demolished and all, and would be the same as the old one. Danny still had mixed feelings on that matter.
Except for Doris, and Owen Turner dishing out his own personal brand of "wisdom" to civilians, not much was going on. For once this was a relief. Danny just couldn't be buggered to leave his chair at the moment, or move…he didn't think he could muster the strength or energy for something as demanding as standing upright.
"Hoodies…Centre…fountain…So what are they doin' now?" Owen asked, and resumed doodling in his notepad. "Riiight, well you see we arrest people who commit crimes and such. That's what we do here. And sitting isn't actually a crime so…uh huh...uh huh…I understand, but..."
"You don't get it," Danny said, biting into a jelly donut. God he missed donuts. And they were just lying around on Andy's desk, begging to be mooched off of. "The guy's obsessed! He's got me doing squats at my desk!"
"I know," Doris laughed, "That was—"
Danny gave her a murderous stare.
"…just…not funny at all…"
Doris went back to chewing her pen and looking over some forms, and attempting to be blasé. "Have you thought about telling him about how you feel?"
"I'm sorry you feel that way, but I don't see what you expect us to do about it. They're allowed to sit there."
"Blokes don't talk about 'feelings' and if they do they talk for five minutes tops while fixing something in the garage."
"Oh please, that's just some dumb stereotype."
"No, you can't talk to him right now, he's… No, he's not here…Elsewhere, I suppose. How should I know?"
Danny just shrugged, and tried not to groan in orgasmic ecstasy at the taste of sprinkles and purple goo. He was not above making faces and leaning back in orgasmic ecstasy, though. God, he missed sugar. He missed food.
"Jim's not like that. He's sensitive."
"Which one is Jim," he asked, with mouth full of donut.
"He's the artist. Jim Wesley, y'know, you've met him."
"If you could leave your name and number, he can…He'll ring you back…um hmm…"
"Doesn't ring a bell."
Owen took an imaginary gun to his head and blew his imaginary brains out.
"Just last week his friend was really depressed and Jim went over to talk to him," Doris started to get that gleam in her eye, a sly smile on her face. "He's so yummy. You lot had better be nice to him when he comes to pick me up tonight. I already have a brother. I don't need seven more, thank you."
Danny sighed. Poor Doris. Poor, deluded, innocent Doris. Well, maybe not innocent, but almost certainly kidding herself.
"I don' know what he was doing, but I can guarantee he wasn't at his friend's house to talk. That's just a guy's way of weaseling out of seeing you without hurting your feelings."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I have another call on the line…"
Doris looked a bit alarmed and then sulked, sinking back into her chair, "You're cheating on your diet."
"Yep. Relax, he probably wanted to drink beer and watch the game."
"He could do that with me," Doris pouted. "I am way more interesting than his loser friends."
"You have a good day now, m'kay?"
"None of my girlfriends would have. I always fall for the high-maintenance ones."
"Well you don't have to worry about that anymore, do you?"
Owen hung up the phone and continued to read his paperback, perfectly content to go back to ignoring people. Which was best really, whether other people realized it or not.
Danny chewed for a few seconds, furrowed his brow. It took a few seconds for that to compute and he wasn't quite sure what to say. He probably shouldn't even ask, continue to eat donuts, and pretend to be dumb, but he did it anyway because he was that dumb.
"What do you mean by that?"
"I should think things would be easier if you just dated your drinking buddy." Doris shrugged. "That's all I'm saying."
Danny grunted and went back to pretending to filling out paperwork. He had actually finished fifteen minutes ago.
"Now if you ask me," Owen began loftily from behind his book.
Danny gathered everything and went to the Records Room, feeling a little hot around the collar. Occasional teasing was one thing, but he wasn't in the mood to be constantly picked on by everybody, whether they thought it was for his own good or not.