Pairing: Dash x Danny
Warnings: Homosexual relationships. Main DP characters start in their 20s and grow older through the story. Implied sexual relations. Death. Abuse. Mention of rape. Violence. Foul language.
Disclaimer: Danny Phantom is a product of Nickelodeon. All characters in this story are imaginary.
Summary: Danny deals with the trials of life, marriage, and raising children.
Originally Written: June 2004 - July 2005
Note: This story was originally titled "People Change with Time," but I felt it didn't really fit the story.
Danny sighed tiredly as he reached for the remaining book on the cart. Once he put this book away, his shift at the library would be over and he would be allowed to return to his single bedroom apartment to sleep the rest of the night away. He had to wake up at five the next morning for his class. Why did he have to pick a class so early in the morning? Waking up early four days a week was beginning to take a toll on him. And fighting the occasional ghost didn't help him receive the sleep he needed. Danny walked around the bookshelf, searching for the book's proper place. Halfway down the aisle, he bumped into someone.
"Sorry, I-" Danny swallowed the rest of his words when he looked up to see whom he hit.
"Fenton," Dash said as he stared at the man before him.
"Wha-what are you doing here?" Danny stuttered, taking a small step away from the other man. The last thing he wanted right now was to invoke the wrath of Dash Baxter, star player of the Casper High Ravens football team. Well, former star since they graduated from high school already and now attended college.
"Looking for a book, obviously. This is a library," Dash responded with a snort and returned his gaze to the bookshelf.
"What book?" Even though they weren't on the best of terms, Danny had to be polite to the customers and offer to help them search for anything they needed.
"Why are you asking?" Dash eyed Danny, wondering if there was some ulterior motive.
"Well, I - I work here, so I could help you… look for anything that you need," Danny replied, his hands growing sweaty with nervousness. Please don't let this be a reason for him to beat me up, Danny prayed.
Dash frowned and contemplated whether or not to tell Danny what he was looking for. He didn't think Danny would break out into laughter and start teasing him since he could see the other man's hands shaking slightly. He's still afraid I'll beat him up, Dash thought, and his frown increased. That shouldn't have surprised him after all the bullying he had done in high school.
"I'm looking for a cook book on French cuisine," Dash finally answered.
"A… cook book?" Danny blinked, thinking he heard that wrong. When Dash didn't respond to correct him, Danny smiled weakly. "Well, first, this is the historical section. Let me put this book away, and I'll show you to the cooking section." Danny continued a little ways down the aisle and put the book in its proper place. "Okay. The cooking section is this way." Danny led Dash through the library to the requested section. "If there's anything else you need, let me know. Though make it quick because my shift just ended."
"So where are your buds?" Dash questioned casually as he scanned the shelves for a book on French cuisine.
"Sam went to college in New York, and Tucker went to California." Danny wanted to run away before he gave Dash a reason to beat him up, but he felt obligated to stay since he had already offered to help Dash with anything.
Dash nodded, picking up a book and flipping through it before placing it back on the shelf. Danny fidgeted, not sure what to say but feeling uncomfortable in the silence.
"So… why are you looking for a cook book anyway?" Danny asked, his voice trembling only a little.
"I'm taking courses at the culinary school nearby."
"Culinary school? But didn't you get accepted to Casper University on a football scholarship?" Danny struggled to wrap his mind around the answer Dash had given him. Dash wanted to cook rather than get a free ride playing football? It simply didn't make sense to Danny.
"You obviously don't pay much attention to the news," Dash muttered, finally deciding on a book.
Sorry! I've been busy fighting ghosts and trying to keep up with work and school. It's not easy for me, Danny grumbled to himself. "Did something happen?" Danny inquired. He shrank back a little when Dash stepped forward, towering over him.
"During the summer after our senior year, my father and I got in a car accident. My father died. And my left knee was badly damaged. The doctors said I could destroy my knee if I continue playing football so I couldn't accept the scholarship," Dash explained in a neutral voice.
"I'm… sorry." Danny lowered his gaze, feeling bad for bringing such a tragic event up again.
"Doesn't matter," Dash stated with a shrug. He started walking to the check-out desk at the front of the library. Danny followed, lacking any idea of what to say now. "I'm actually a little relieved my knee got damaged. I didn't really want to play football in college."
"You didn't?" Danny felt like his head was spinning. Had Dash really changed so much in the two years that they hadn't seen each other? After Dash checked out the book, he exited the library. Danny's feet moved on their own, like Dash had some magnetic force making him follow the man.
"My father was the one who wanted me to play. The day of the accident, we got in a big fight because I wanted to go to the culinary school, but my father refused to have me waste my athletic abilities by going to some stupid school to learn to cook." Dash sighed and shook his head. "He thinks cooking is something only women should do. But I wanted to cook! And it just made me so frustrated and pissed off that he wouldn't let me live my own life." Dash paused and turned on Danny, shocking the man. "I feel bad for taking out all that built up frustration on you during high school. Why don't I make it up to you by cooking you dinner?"
"Okay," Danny replied hesitantly, stunned by the sudden apology and invitation. Dash smiled, seeming happy with the response, and started walking up the steps of the apartment complex. Wow! He lives in a nice place, Danny thought enviously when they entered Dash's one bedroom apartment. Compared to Danny's apartment, Dash's was a lot bigger. And the apartment was so clean! Danny thought Dash's place would be a total mess.
"Just take a seat, and I'll get started on dinner," Dash stated as he headed into his kitchen.
Danny complied and plopped down on the cushy couch. He looked around the room, feeling out of place. It almost felt like he had entered the Twilight Zone. Noticing some photos framed and mounted on the wall, Danny twisted around on the couch to get a better look at them. He nearly burst into laughter when he spotted a photo of Dash at about four years old. Little Dash was sitting in the kitchen with, what Danny assumed to be, raspberry jam all over his face. He was smiling at the camera, hands raised above his head, and looking too cute for words. Danny was so absorbed in looking at the photos from Dash's childhood, that he didn't realize Dash had entered the room again with their dinner.
"See any you like?" Dash asked, leaning in close to whisper into Danny's ear.
Danny jumped in surprise and tried to fight back a blush of embarrassment. "Sorry," he mumbled as he sat down on the couch again.
"You don't have to apologize," Dash assured him. "Now shall we eat?" He gestured to the dishes he had prepared.
Danny's jaw dropped in amazement. The three plates set before him all looked delicious. He picked up his fork and stabbed it through a sliver of steak on the first plate. Dash watched in amusement as different expression played on Danny's face while he ate.
"This is all so good," Danny said, praising the other man when he finished. "I never would have thought you would be such an amazing cook. You - You're a lot different than you were in high school." He shrank a little away from Dash. Even if he seemed different, it didn't mean the man wouldn't try to hurt him again for saying something wrong.
"I'm surprised you didn't run away the first chance you got," Dash said with a laugh, scooting over on the couch and closing the distance between them. "I did some pretty awful things to you in high school." He slipped his hand into Danny's hand, lacing their fingers. Danny flinched a little but didn't reject the action. "Just because I was having problems with my father didn't mean I should take out my frustrations on you. I should have found some other way to cope. I'm sorry."
"You don't have to keep apologizing," Danny assured him. "I mean – well, we all had our problems in high school." A strange feeling twisted in his gut, and he couldn't understand why he wasn't backing away when Dash started leaning closer. He couldn't take his eyes away from Dash's eyes as his heartbeat quickened.
Dash brushed his lips gently over Danny's lips. When the man didn't freak out, Dash pressed his lips fully onto the other man's lips. Danny's eyes slid shut as the strange feeling became stronger. He had never experienced anything like this before, mostly because he had never had a girlfriend to kiss. All the girls thought he was a loser and rejected him. Sam had told him it would be too weird to date her best friend. Danny had never considered getting a boyfriend before; however, now he thought maybe that he should definitely put that option on the table.
Dash pushed Danny back on the couch as his tongue sought entrance into the other man's mouth. Danny gave in, parting his lips for the insistent tongue. Dash's hands slipped under Danny's shirt and explored the smooth plane of his torso. Danny's muscles tensed at the touch, not used to such caresses. When Dash's fingers brushed over one of his nipples, Danny broke the kiss by throwing his head back. His body arched into the body above him, wanting more. Dash smirked and lowered his mouth upon the nipple. Danny's mind was overwhelmed by the pleasure that Dash's ministrations were giving him, making it hard for him to concentrate on what was happening.
Danny groaned as he woke up the next morning. He peeked out from under the nice warm covers to check the clock. It was already ten-thirty. He rolled over, throwing the covers over his head again. After a minute, he shot up, throwing the covers off him again.
"Ten-thirty! I missed my class!" Danny cursed under his breath as he pulled on his boxers and pants. He grabbed his shirt off the floor as he headed out of the bedroom. He stopped when he realized this wasn't even his apartment. Images of what happened the previous night flashed in his mind, and Danny felt a blush rising to his cheeks. He glanced into the bedroom, but saw no sign of Dash. Frowning, he walked around the apartment, but he didn't see Dash anywhere. When he noticed a note with his name on it, Danny stopped and picked up the piece of paper. After unfolding it, he read:
Sorry to run out on you, but I had to get to class. I was going to wake you up before leaving, but you just looked so cute that I didn't want to disturb you. Feel free to eat anything you want and take a shower, if you want. I left a key to my apartment next to this note so lock up whenever you leave.
P.S. – Last night really meant something to me. I hope we'll meet again because I don't want this to be a onetime thing.
Danny smiled as he folded the note up and stuffed it in his pants pocket. He exited the apartment, locking it as he left. He started humming to himself as he walked down the street, holding the key in his hand which he stuffed into his pocket. For some reason, he couldn't wipe the smile off his face.