A/N: hey all you, like, two people who read the Nathan Barley fic on here, I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH. On that note, I should like to point you in the direction of totally listening to the album mentioned herein. Because it is a CLASSIC. Also, I apologise in advance for any formatting issues, but I just today switched from Xandros to Lubuntu, so I'm still getting a feel for the ins and outs of my new OS. Onward!
It was Dan Ashcroft's birthday. He was never keen on making any whoop-dee-doo about the day in itself, being as he was one of those morose types who preferred simply to gift himself four cans of Stella and let the day pass without notice or incident. This year, however, he felt some semblance of a cause for celebration. That night, he would allow Claire and Jones to throw him a little birthday do at the local pub – nothing fancy, they both insisted. But he was not about to say no to a night of being bought birthday drinks and generally not having to worry about anything. This was good, he thought.
"So, what are you doing for this one?" asked Jones, as Dan sat down at his computer.
"I was thinking Tago Mago," Dan mumbled, his cigarette dangling unlit between his lips.
Dan had, for the past few months, been the author of the aptly-named Dan Ashcroft's Record Collection, a column for the prominent music blog Shove This Fucking Music Into Your Ears. It paid very nearly nothing, but at the very least, it kept him from feeling entirely useless following his retirement from Sugarape,
"Dan," said Jones, with a knowing look, "if you're going to do a Can album, don't you think you should be doing Ege Bamyasi?"
Dan furrowed his brow at the suggestion. "Ege Bamyasi is way too personal. To do it justice... Jones, there is some stuff I don't think the readership needs to know about me."
Dan was referring to the fact that Ege Bamyasi, the third album from the influential German avant-garde group Can, was what happened to be playing when he and Jones made love for the first time. Through a bizarre set of circumstances some weeks previous, Dan had fallen out of a window. This resulted in a brief stay in hospital, followed by a longer stay at home, followed by Jones taking the newly-recovered Dan along to Mykonos, where he had had some gigs lined up. It was there that, through a bizarre set of circumstances he himself did not yet understand, Dan had found his face making rather intimate contact with Jones' face on a beach full of ravers. It was for that reason that Dan had found himself standing in the doorway of their small hotel room, arms crossed, trying – and failing – to muster all the faux-nonchalance he had in him.
"Do you fancy a bit of music?" asked Jones, as he waltzed over to the bed, skinny hips swinging.
"What music?" asked Dan.
"Just put on anything, Dan, it's all good," smiled Jones, collapsing onto the bed and toeing off his sandals.
Dan fumbled through the crate of records and pulled one out without really looking, sliding it out of its sleeve and placing it on the turntable. The needle hissed and cracked as it went round. Then the drums kicked in, frantic and full of love, or maybe that was just Dan.
Jones giggled, lifting his arms as Dan gently tugged the threadbare shirt over his head. Finally, thought Jones. So many times now had Jones done the same for Dan, at first politely trying not to look (though that was quickly deemed needless, given the circumstances, and forgotten), to help him dress or undress, or at bathtime. He had come to know Dan's body almost as well as his own: the rise and fall of his belly as he breathed, the way his muscles shifted as he walked, that grimace of embarrassment whenever he tried to do something on his own, and couldn't. He knew every patch of skin, every freckle, every bit that was ticklish. So this was all completely familiar to him. It was all completely unfamiliar. Dan shrugged off his own well-worn Doors tshirt, the one he'd owned since university and probably ought to have thrown out years ago, and tossed it over his shoulder onto the floor.
"This is a bit, umm..." Dan trailed off, letting his hands fall to his knees.
"Yeah, it is, isn't it?" said Jones, covering Dan's hands with his own.
Dan closed his eyes, and fell into Jones. It felt like he belonged there. It turned out that home wasn't London, home wasn't their house or England or the couch he slept on. Home was Jones, and on some level he knew that he has known that long before what happened that night.
"I've missed you," he whispered, face pressed into Jones' shoulder.
"I've been here all along," said Jones, softly.
"Yeah, but I didn't know that, did I?" he replied, with a tired little laugh.
"Aww, what are you like, babe?" said Jones, snuggling into Dan.
"You just called me babe," squinted Dan, removing himself slightly.
"Guess I did," said Jones. "That all right?"
Dan thought a moment. It was, he concluded.
The room was in darkness now, save for what little lights managed to sprinkle up from the beach below. And it was all hushed whispers and not quite knowing what to do, and not noticing when the record ended and beats and song were replaced by the crackling loops at the end of the LP that mirrored the sound of the waves lapping at the now quiet shores beneath them. All Dan heard was the whoosh of blood rushing past his ears as his belly grew warm and his limbs ceased to function, the gasp and shudder of that strange and beautiful creature who surrounded him on all sides now. The sound of Jones.
"Fuck, Dan," he shouted.
Now there was music.
Dan had taken to sleeping in the bedroom once he came home from hospital – what with the casts being rather cumbersome, and all that – and Claire didn't seem to question when he reclaimed the bedroom upon his return from Greece, even though he could just as easily have gone back to the couch, she supposed. If Claire questioned the fact that Jones was now joining Dan there, she just smiled, and quietly left her questions unasked.