azarias: (Default)
[personal profile] azarias
Title: Film Studies
Author: [personal profile] azarias
Pairing: Nick/Danny
Wordcount: 4,000
Warnings: Several pillows met a grisly fate while constructing a scale model of this fic.
Notes: This was written for Yuletide 2007. I think I'll let the original note stand. As is becoming habit, I couldn't have done this without M_Butterfly. She's been fantastic to the point she pretty much deserves co-writer credit. It was she who looked at my panicked "OH CRAP I SIGNED UP FOR PLANETARY AND I'M NOT SMART ENOUGH TO WRITE PLANETARY FIC" and responded, "So, have you seen Hot Fuzz?". And that's the story of how this fic got written. Thanks also to Jemisard and to CristinAnne, who do a wonderful job not seeming bothered by being grabbed half an hour before the upload deadline and told "Hello I need a readover please help omg headsplodey."

Summary: Danny has a Plan.

It wasn't at all like a movie, when Danny decided to have a go at Nicholas. No, really have a go. You know. Like the scenes Julia Roberts never did show, even though her knockers were half the point of the plot.

Maybe that was why it all went bollocks-up. Should've had a proper screenwriter look over the plan. Mrs. Reather from the primary school, maybe. She'd always told him his essays showed promise, but then marked him down 'cause they "lacked focus" and "attempted to wedge commas into places no young man has any business touching."

The Plan:

1.) run into Guy of Your Dreams while carrying out innocuous, work-related activity

2.) involve GOYD in activity, as by accidentally dropping something, allowing him to respond chivalrously to your flustered flapping about

3.) accept invitation to accompany GOYD to up-scale social event, to protect GOYD from society sharks who'll be flinging painful reminders of his most recent crashed relationship
4.) !!!!!!CAR CHASE!!!!!!
5.) meet GOYD's eyes meaningfully while orchestral music swells over the sounds of the gentle rainstorm you've both been caught out in

See? He wrote it all out on stickies so it'd be organized and stuck them on the edge of the coffee table where he'd see them when he woke up. Even took care not to get much of the barbeque sauce on them at supper, which wasn't an easy thing to do at all when you got a really good sandwich going and were just at the really scary bits of Dawn of the Dead.

It was a simplified plan, with most of the interfering relatives, vengeful exes, and mistaken identities balled up and dropped under the coffee table. Didn't want to get too complicated on the first run-through, and besides, those parts never looked like they'd be much fun to have happen to you, even if Meg Ryan was smiling at you right after.

There was a sixth sticky. It got bold red ink, instead of the thin blue of the office pen he found under the cushion and used for the rest of notes. It said only this:


Not counting how it was circled and underlined, of course.



"Good morning, Sergeant Butterman," Nick said, which was what he always said even though he wasn't a hard-ass any more. Danny couldn't object, seeing as he liked being called Sergeant near as much as Nick liked calling him it.

"Mornin', mate," Danny said, which was what he always said, too, and Nick never said nothing about what Danny said in response to what he said, so Danny figured that was Nick saying he could go on saying what he was saying 'til somebody said something about how it wasn't in the vocabulary guidelines to call your chief mate first thing in the morning. And when that happened, Nick'd have something unpleasant to say to the bastard.

Nick held the door open for him at the station and Danny snagged enough chocolate from the jar on Doris' desk to make breakfast for them both. Always grabbed a little extra to make Nick's share, since left to his own devices Nick lived off of salad and juice and muesli without sugar, and that just couldn't be healthy to keep up all the time, not the way Nick ran around burning calories. Danny popped the first chocolate in his mouth and went over the Plan in his head, thinking about when he should get started on it.

The folder Nick dropped on the desk was heavy enough to startle Danny if he hadn't had two years getting used to the way Nick liked slamming folders around. Not to mention the way he liked to keep enough notes to give them a respectable weight, and organized them with stickies -- color-coded stickies -- of his own to keep them straight and make whoosh as they flew toward the desk. "Got a lead on that car paint keyer, Danny. Told you signing his work with smiley faces would be his downfall." Nick grinned wolfishly, or at least kind of fox terrierishly, and sat down next to Danny to eat his chocolates and explain the ambush they were going to set up for the Smiley Bandit.

Danny mostly paid attention to what the corners of Nick's mouth did to keep smiling while the rest of his lips were busy talking, though he definitely heard the part about the smoke grenades.

Should probably not put the Plan into the works today. Nothing at all romantic about Mondays.



Danny shook his head sadly and made sure his arm was secure around Nick's shoulders. Would've been awkward, with Nick being so much taller than him, except that the usual iron in Nick's spine was feeling slagged today. He was slumped down, fingertips sealing his lips in mute horror.

"Terrible thing," Danny said to the reporter, after his best glares didn't manage to melt the microphone down. "Fucking terrible. We caught the bastard in the end, but if we'd only been a little sooner about it ..." He sighed, a long breath still shaky with nerves, and squeezed Nick's shoulders harder. "Well, we weren't, and that's that. Only thing to do now is to pick up the pieces."

In the end, the Bandit had dropped his keys in favor of heavier tools. The knife had looked like something Rambo wouldn't use for a toothpick, but it was made of solid steel and powered by the will of a madman. Under the circumstances, it had been enough.

FUCK FIGS, the side of the cruiser urged in letters scratched a half-centimeter deep. The second F was kind of squiggly at the ends, like the vandal had tried to round it off to a P but got pressed for time. Beneath it, slashed so raggedly it barely looked human, was a frownie face. A full >:-( with the eyebrows and the nose and everything, and the mouth trailing off in a horrible, shallow grimace where Nick and Danny had finally run back to the parking lot and caught the Bandit in the midst of his final revenge.

That kind of damage you couldn't just paint over. They'd have to get the driver's door and the fender replaced, and no telling how long the body work would be, and what if they had to drive around with some ugly primer coat for a while before they could get someone in to do the official paint job right? And the driver's door was Nick's door, and Danny couldn't even switch with him though his door was whole, 'cause you couldn't put the passenger door on the driver's side.

"Decent thing to do in a situation like this is to give the victim time to recover himself from the shock," Danny said pointedly. The microphone wavered, then moved decisively away.

Danny took one of Nick's hands down from his partner's lips and used it to steer Nick back toward the station; the arm 'round the shoulders provided the thrust. "It'll be all right, Nicky. It'll be all right. We'll get in and get the papers processed for the arrest, and there'll be a new case to work on before you know it."

A thought struck him, lighting his skull from the inside with its acuity. "Hey, we'll have to put a new name on the file, you know. Can't call him the Smiley Bandit anymore, what with that last. Good thing you thought to label it in pencil. What should the name be, you think? The Frownie Bandit's kind of derivative ..."

Nick's expression was still pinched, his face hollowed by failure, but Danny could see the gears start to turn behind those brilliant eyes. Danny smiled a little, as much as the situation would let him.

Plan would have to wait. It was no time for romance when your best mate was hurting.



Danny leaned supportively against Nick, chair to chair and knee to knee in the local's sturdy seats. A pillar of strength, that's what he was being. Making sure Nick was okay, good, fine, and also okay.

Shouldn't put the Plan in the works tonight, not when Nick was completely faced and Danny was still going strong.

"Wouldn't be right," he told Nick seriously. "Would be taking adtanta ... advancie ... ad ... cant ... doin' wrong."

"Wrong? What's wrong?" Nick asked, looking at him with wavery concern.

"Exactly!" The floor nodded around Danny, pleased as Danny was that Nick had taken the point. Good old Nick, always good at that telepatheticy.

Thursday. Definitely start the Plan Thursday.



Danny got home Friday a.m. and decided to forget Thursday.



He woke up Friday afternoon and remembered Thursday.



It didn't work, of course.

Hiding beneath the table never did, not when Nick was an inspector and took the inspecting part serious. Even though Danny'd gone to the trouble of making a pillow fort around the table -- wouldn't have worked even if he'd thought to pull out the spare blankets for some heavy-duty fort construction.

Danny looked stubbornly up at Nick, ignoring the awful kink he was getting in his neck from the way he had it angled over to let him squish in beneath the low table. "Hello, Nicholas. Help you with something?"

The situation didn't even seem to rate an eyebrow lift from Nick. Familiarity was breeding contempt all over Danny's floor. Should probably have the rat-man come by more often.

"Came to see if you were sick," Nick said upside down. He'd bent slightly to look down at Danny but didn't have the decency to circle round and go right-side up. From this angle, his nose kind of looked like a birdie. "Not like you to be this late to the pub, not after missing a whole shift."

"No, I'm not bloody sick!" Danny snapped, getting annoyed by the way his jaw kept jabbing into his chest and bouncing back up to clack his teeth with every syllable. He wriggled his shoulders and popped his head out from under the table. Then he kept wriggling for a moment or two, because there was an itch there that was getting scratched beautifully by the carpet. "I'm resting."

"Beneath the table," Nick observed doubtfully. "Ah."

His face dropped out of Danny's field of vision and the couch squeaked. Danny tried to crane his head back far enough to look at Nick, but his neck twinged that it was having none of that and besides, that was really upside down and Nick's nose looked like it was about ready to take flight. He gave up and flopped back down, addressing his speech to the ceiling.

"Think I'll miss the pub tonight. Need to catch up on me sleep." To demonstrate, he closed his eyes and breathed peacefully, bravely ignoring how his nose itched from the dust. Then he heard a paper rustling, and that was bad. A very small paper. A sticky one.

He shot out from under the table, grabbing Nick's wrist in an iron grip and hissing at the little burn the carpet gave him on the bare patch between where his shirt had been pulled up and his trousers had been slumping down. "Hey, now! What the fuck do you think you're doing, reading a man's private .... privacy?"

Nick's eyes flicked between Danny and the sticky, and didn't look even the least little bit ashamed of himself for privacy violations of the reading variety. "I'm, ah, responding chivalrously to your flustered flapping about, I think."

"No you are not!" Danny protested. To get out from under the table entirely, he had to let go of Nick's wrist and heave himself up, but he snatched the sticky as soon as he was done, and collected all the rest from the table's edge, too. "You're sitting there reading and having a laugh, 'cause the Plan went straight to hell and you think I'm an idiot and some kind of homo pervert 'cause I didn't even stop to check if you like guys before I started, which is a thought that occurred to me just now, and I'm sure you've never so much as stuttered your lines when you asked your ladies out on a date, or your blokes if you've had them."

"I have."

"Um?" Danny asked, interrupted before he could list more woes.

"Blokes. Well, bloke." Now he managed some kind of contrition, and it wasn't even for anything he'd done wrong. "Back before police training. Ended badly. Hardly worth mentioning. And, ah, it's lady, too. Not ladies."

Danny stared at him, lips twisted in disbelief. "You're joking, right? You being from the big city, first, and you've been here for coming on two years, and I know the girls haven't been ignoring you. I mean, Doris -- well, village bicycle and all, but she's a good heart and doesn't try to warn any of the other women off when she fancies a man, which is good else she couldn't do any police work for all the patrolling she'd have to be doing -- but there's that new girl down at the petrol station, and that one who comes through with the circus, and the barber's sister, and --"

"Which is all well and good," Nick cut him off. There was a deep flush taking over his face, like his nose-bird had gone splat against a window and was leaking blood everywhere.

Honestly, even Danny thought that image was disgusting.

"Except that every one of them is waiting on me to ask her out. Even the circus girl, and given that she rides around on the back of a lion you'd think she'd be more of a modern woman ready to assert herself in a relationship. And, well, I won't." Nick crossed his arms and looked stern, like he wasn't saying one word more on the subject.

"Why not?" Danny asked.

The immediate answer was, "Because I don't fucking want to!"

The (quieter) answer just after that was, "Because I never quite worked out how one does so without looking like an ass."

And the next (mumbled) one was, "And even if I did, those aren't candidates I'd be interested in. Until quite recently, I didn't know that anyone I took interest in reciprocated that interest."

"That's interesting," Danny acknowledged. Momentarily, hearing the little note of lonely in Nick's voice, he forgot he was supposed to be annoyed at Nick for reading his Plan. Or dying of embarrassment after yesterday's terrific cock-up of a seduction attempt. Or angry at the failure of his hide-under-the-table recovery strategy. He reached out a hand to touch Nick's arm, then switched and used the other one when he realized the first was covered in sticky notes.

"Anyway, I suspect you know all about that," Nick said wearily, and Danny probably should have thanked him because there was the annoyance pounding up again, with the anger and embarrassment in hot hot hot pursuit. Danny was on his feet, looking down at Nick for once, and not even stumbling over a pillow when he jumped up so quick.

"What? You think just 'cause I'm a fatarse and talk to me film collection and m'Dad still sends me birthday cakes from gaol, I've got to be a virgin, too? How much Cosmo have you read, man?" He looked at Nick, mouth pinched tight, for as long as his could before his eyes kinda slipped and fell right off Nick's face and down to the floor, not even stopping to ogle his man-bits on the way. Stupid man-bits. Could use 'em for a towel rack but they couldn't stop your eyeballs going splat on the floor.

Danny mumbled the last bit, because half his mouth didn't want to say it and the other half was telling that half to piss off and go get laid never again. "It's just I've never wanted to do it proper, before. You know?"

Nick seemed not at all bothered to have Danny looming over him, which took half the fun out of looming right there. In fact, he was just kind of looking Danny up and down, not in any kind of hurry. "I ... see. And 'proper' procedure in this case is ..."

"Well, romantic like. Like I already told you. Weren't you listening?" He waved his right hand in Nick's face, with the little yellow papers fluttering. "All there on the stickies, all set up for yesterday. Except there was that stupid robber with his stupid xylophone and the stupid goat that attacked the xylophone and then that gun violation for Mr. Murphy shootin' the goat in front of those three Hari Krishnas who went into hysterics, and then --"

"Awful lot of paperwork."

"Right. Fucking awful. ('cept the dust-up with the vicar and those Swiss tourists. That part was hilarious.) And no fucking at the end to make it all all right."

Nick's lips were pursed and prim, like they'd been stung by a bee and were waiting to get kissed better. Danny wasn't helped shutting up by thoughts like that, so he just kept going. "Not that just fucking was what I wanted, you know, 'cause you're special and I'm pretty much as in love with you as I could stand to get already, but some fucking would go a long way to redeeming the whole mess. And my hand's still cramping from that load of papers, so it's not like I can close my eyes and take care of myself, myself."

"And furthermore!" Danny said, waving his arms to burn off some of the passion surging up his throat, "Furthermore! It never. even. rained. This is bloody Gloucestershire. The fucking sun was fucking shining all fucking week. Tell me, please: what the fuck?"

"Well, I think you buy me a drink first."

"Okay!" Danny agreed, throwing his arms up again for another swing. "Wait, what?"

"Well." Nick stood up to face him, and Danny was too busy with the whating to notice he'd lost his perspective advantage. Nick tapped the sticky notes on Danny's hand without looking to see which one he was touching, so Danny didn't figure it was important to tell him it was the WOOOHOOOOO, which had been Danny's favorite one by far until it all went pear-shaped.

"You've got this all plotted out in sequence. (Though it probably would have benefited you to write them on larger slips. Had to squint to make some of the words out.) You carried most of it out yesterday, despite unfortunate events. Started from step one -- that urn was heavy, by the way."

"Yeah, sorry," Danny said. "I'd meant to put it on the table and just knock off a few papers on the way, but I got startled by that jack-in-the-box."

"Mmm. Try just splashing a little coffee on me next time. Not hot, please and thank you. That way you get to feel me up while making your apologies and trying to wipe the stain off my trousers."

"Right," Danny agreed, then blinked. "Wait --"

Nick didn't. "But if I understand correctly how these things work, before anything serious happens you're supposed to buy me a drink first. Oh, and dinner."

Danny's mind had gotten to rolling the coffee idea around, particularly the feeling-up-Nick's-trousers part of it. So his eyes were a little glassy and his voice a little distance when he asked, "Yeah?"

"Yes. Also, telling me you had, ah, interest in me would have best been done earlier. Particularly intimate interest, you know. Though I suppose I have no room to talk, considering I haven't ... Well, we seem to be clearing all of that up, don't we?" There the blush was back, just as vivid as before, though this time it looked kind of like a halo surrounding the shy smile that was pushing Nicholas' lips around. A bright, red, bird-blood halo.

Right, time to stop with that metaphor. Nick's nose didn't really look like a bird from this angle, anyhow. Unless he tilted his head a little. But still, any bird attached to Nick's face would be very much alive, thank you.

"That's what I meant, you know. Earlier. About not knowing that you were being fancied by someone you fancy. I mean, it's been two years, hasn't it? And I've never told you --"

"Hang on, hang on," Danny said, motioning Nick to really hang this time instead of just steaming right along. "Two years? Huh. And here I've only been looking your way since the raffle for the school intramural --"

Nick's eyebrow went to have a meeting with his hairline. "The raffle? But, Danny, that was only three weeks ago."

Danny shrugged. "I know, I know. I'm a slow mover sometimes, right?"

"But I've been -- it was -- two years, and I fell --" Only about one mouth movement in three managed to make an actual word. He didn't stop that soon, he was going to bite something on accident and Danny wasn't sure where his first aid kit was. Nick probably had bandages in his pocket, though, so it'd be all right.

"Didn't say that's when I fell in love for you, man. Thought you knew that. Just that's when I started to think I could maybe do something with it. Like maybe I wanted to really kind of bad. You remember how I had to have my hands all over your arse, to get you up that ladder while you was carrying that stuffed goose for the archery? Gets a man thinking about things, that does. Day and night." He coughed. "Made patrolling with you some kind of awkward. Which might be why my brain never did it to me before, come to think."

"Ah," Nick said. His teeth weren't making things dangerous for his tongue anymore, so you'd think he'd say more than that. In fact, he was starting to smile again, so that probably accounted for him being less speechy than he ought to be. Took time for smiles to get all of his mouth involved, usually. "Well. I guess I'm less efficient than you are, Sergeant Butterman."

Danny all but glowed. With Nick saying his name that way, it was really lucky he didn't catch on fire. "Ah. Inspector Angel, could I buy you a drink? And maybe dinner? They've got this fucking fantastic sausage sandwich down the block, you have to see it to believe it and then you're too busy eatin' it to think on it too hard." He paused to pick the sticky notes off his hand before holding it out for Nick.

When Nick took his hand, their gun-calluses rubbed together, and for once Danny didn't wonder about whose were bigger. "My pleasure, Danny," he said, and pulled Danny towards the door. "Oh, you should compliment me, too. I respond very well to flattery. You should start with ... hmm. Let's start with an easy one. Eyes. I've got a nice set. Should be easy to come up with some pretty phrases for them."

"Your eyes are really pretty," Danny said immediately. "And good for seeing. Shooting, too. Fuck, you're hot when you shoot things, you realize?"

Nick's smile went all lop-sided, and he squeezed Danny's hand. "Consider me seduced, mate. Well and truly seduced."


P.S. There was still one note stuck to his hand. He didn't notice it until well after dinner, to tell the truth, when Nick pointed it out and also pointed out that right then would be a bad time for either of them to get paper cuts, and also that they had some very vulnerable areas in immediate danger.

He pulled it off and let it fall to the floor where it'd be safe and he could find it again.



Date: 2013-05-22 12:05 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It's a real pleasure to find seomone who can think like that


azarias: (Default)

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