Disclaimer: Yeah, I own Nathan Barley all right. I sure do. Not. Sheesh.
A/N: Just a wee thought experiment written whilst at the office. There's a serious lack of Dan/Jones on here. Enjoy!
Dan Ashcroft's painkillers did not mix well with alcohol. He learned this the first night they arrived on Mykonos. Jones had to cut his gig short, and carry Dan back to their little white room overlooking the sea. Jones had become accustomed to carrying Dan in the preceding six weeks: he had had to become intimately familiar with how to manoeuvre Dan from one place to another while several of Dan's limbs were encased in plaster; indeed, he was almost as intimately familiar with carrying Dan as Dan was now becoming with their hotel toilet. As he choked and heaved into the bowl, muttering slurred apologies, his hair plastered down with sweat, Jones whispered in his ear: "You've got to stop scaring me like this, Dan."
It was hot, much too hot to sleep. Even the breeze rolling in off the sea did little to quell the heat that hung limply in the air of their room. Dan was out cold, but this was made possible only by the exhausting effect of the chemicals warring for supremacy in his bloodstream. Jones smoothed the damp hair from Dan's sleepy furrowed brow, kissed him softly on the cheek, and settled in behind his traveling turntables for a long night's music-making.
Things had improved slightly by the second night. Dan had been unconscious since the night before, and Jones had reluctantly followed at, by his estimation, about noon. It was eight or so by the time they awoke again, and Jones – who insisted that henceforth, Dan was forbidden to drink anything stronger than orange juice – dragged them out of their room for a quiet pre-gig dinner at a little place on a quiet sidestreet that, it turned out, mostly served octopus. Or at least, that was as much as either of them could figure out, since neither spoke any Greek, and no one on staff seemed to know any English. It was nice.
"Listen, uhh, Jones," muttered Dan, stabbing at the lemony tentacles on his place, "thanks. For helping out, and everything."
"Yeah, it's cool, Dan. I just care about what happens to you, you know? Anything I can do to help," said Jones.
"Yeah, but why?" asked Dan.
Jones just smiled at him in a way that would have seemed heartbreakingly earnest, if Dan hadn't been too hungover, or perhaps too absorbed in his own suffering, to notice. Dan squinted, shrugged his shoulders, and pulled out a fresh cigarette. He really was that fucking clueless, thought Jones. Bless him, the grumpy bastard.
Things had improved significantly by the time the third night rolled round. Jones had no more gigs on the island that week, but had decided that it would do them both some good to stay on a few extra days. Dan was in no hurry to go back to work, and Jones had nothing in his datebook for the next few weeks except the customary "keep working on music" that he really didn't need to bother penciling in.
Jones had somehow managed to convince Dan that, even though the music would most likely be shit (and it was, of course) that a bit of silly partying on the beach into the wee hours of the morning would probably do him some good. The beach was crammed full of scantily clad females and obnoxiously tanned boys, all funneling complicated cocktails into one another, or dancing with one another, or trying to get off with one another. All set to the sunshiney bounce of shitty techno. Dan just stood at the bar, and smoked. And smoked, and smoked, and smoked.
"I really don't want to go back to work next week," shouted Dan, over the pokey little beats and vocal acrobatics being pumped into their eardrums.
"Then don't!" replied Jones.
"What?" asked Dan, straining to hear him.
"Why don't you just quit your job?" shouted Jones, one very loud syllable at a time. "Isn't there something else you'd rather be doing?"
"What, like write a book?" asked Dan.
"Yeah, why not?" replied Jones, taking a swig of water, wiping the sweat from his brow with one of his many wristbands.
"Writing a book doesn't pay rent, Jones!" coughed Dan, who felt his voice quickly becoming hoarse with the effort.
"Neither do you," smiled Jones. This was true. "Just quit your fucking job, Dan, let's dance!"
Dan raised an eyebrow at Jones, holding up his cane. Although Dan's casts had been removed, and he was much more mobile than hitherto, the injury to his leg was enough such that, at least for the time being, he carried a cane with him, to help him get about. It was, at least, much less burdensome than being ferried about by Jones.
"That's no excuse!" Jones shouted in Dan's ear. "Fuck it, I'm having a dance anyway!"
And with that, Jones drifted into the sea of the obnoxiously beautiful people. Dan grudgingly followed. Dan wouldn't dance, but he owed it to Jones, by some strange logic, to keep him company.
Jones wasn't an Idiot. Dan was well aware of that. Jones danced like he didn't give a shit what he looked like, or who was looking, if anyone. Jones was just Jones. Jones was transcendent. And in that moment, riding on pure momentum, skinny fists pumping into the heavy summer air, blissfully unaware of anything other than thumping beats and pure love, Jones was heartbreakingly beautiful. In that moment, Dan wanted to wrap himself in that beauty. He wondered why he'd never seen it before.
When Jones finally noticed Dan, he smiled.
"Dan! Told you you should have a dance!" he bounced.
"Yeah," said Dan, and Jones thought he could maybe almost sort of detect the beginnings of perhaps a teensy little microscopic smile on Dan's face, though it may have been a trick of the flashing lights.
Somewhere, between the flashing lights, the loud, repetitive music, and Jones' infectiously optimistic presence, Dan seemed to forget himself. Or perhaps his brain shut off entirely, or at least any protestations it may have made went unheard. Apparently of their own volition, his hands found Jones' waist. Jones was startled for a moment, but brought his arms up around Dan's shoulders, and the two quickly found a rhythm of their own. They danced like a pair of confused high schoolers fumbling together to a power ballad at their first school dance. They danced like they didn't give a shit. Then, forgetting himself, forgetting the music, forgetting the sea of superficial douchebags that surrounded them, Dan's mouth quietly found Jones' mouth. He could feel Jones smile against him. He smiled too.
"Sorry," he said, quietly enough that Jones could just barely lip-read it.
"Don't be stupid," laughed Jones, leading him out of the throng, and back to their room.
Dan Ashcroft's heart grew three sizes that night.