Oh, The Places You'll Go

2008: The Fall

Notes: I asked my guys to pick a year from the My Two Gay Dads 'verse. sansets picked 2008. This is what she got.

"You got to admit it's a cool movie. The design of the robots alone was worth the ticket price."

"You've never got past your love of space ninja pirate robots have you, Charlie?"

"Let it go, man. I wrote that when I was a kid."

"Best film script by a seven year old I ever saw," said Casey, ruffling Charlie's carefully constructed hair. He squirmed away from his Dad's hand.

"Can you not?"

Dan laughed.

"The giant robots were pretty impressive, I'll give you that. But the product placement hurt my eyes."

"And ears."

"That too."

"Gotta make their money somehow. Media is changing, it's all downloads and streaming and ad-free this ad-free that. There's no business model, it's a free for all out there. No wonder the unions are thinking of strikes."

Charlie ignored the startled looks his two dads gave him. He was just enjoying being out and about with them both. It was still close enough to that bad, bad time that evenings out like this seemed like a gift. And who was he to pass up the chance of a Transformers retrospective? Even though he admitted that calling it a retrospective was pushing it a bit seeing as the film had only come out the previous summer. Still, with the fast pace of life these days. Charlie blamed the internet.

"You blame the internet! God, Charlie, are you ever your father's child."

Charlie grinned and blushed a little. Sometimes things came out of his mouth before he'd had a chance to inform his brain. He hoped it was just hormones.

"Changing the subject," he said. "Dinner now?"

"You want dinner? After that vat of popcorn you ate?"

"And you washed it down with at least a gallon of Coke. How is it not expanding you like a balloon?"

"Teenager. Growing. Duh."

Afterwards, Charlie wondered if he could have been more vigilant, if he could somehow have prevented what happened, but right now he was oblivious, slouching down the street, sleeves pulled over the end of his hands, hair obscuring exactly one half of his vision with perfect precision. So he didn't see the man crossing the street from the opposite sidewalk. He didn't notice as the street light ahead of them flickered and failed to do its single job properly.

And then the guy was there, in their face, waving a gun and demanding money and Dan was stepping forward because that was Dan, mother-fucking lioness all the way and he was trying to reason with the guy only you can't reason with a crackhead and Charlie, through his one available eye, saw the signs. Twitchy, talkative, constantly rubbing his sleeve under his nose.

"Put the gun away," Dan said and somehow his voice was perfectly calm. Charlie didn't feel calm. He forgot about being nearly a grown man and grabbed for his father's hand. Casey held on tight.

"Put the gun away and we'll give you some money but I won't do it if you're pointing your gun at us."

He took a step closer to the addict.

"Danny." Charlie's dad's voice cracked and that made Charlie more worried. What would his dad do if anything happened to Dan?

"Danny, I'm going to get out my wallet and give it to him. Okay?"

"No, Casey. Not until he puts the gun away."

The addict shuffled and waggled the gun.

"Money. Now. Fuck this shit."

"Put the gun away. Then money." Dan stepped closer again.

The addict looked around, anxious. Charlie didn't know what made him do it, but he let go of his dad's hand and raised it up to put it on Dan's shoulder. In the shadows the light glittered off Charlie's nail polish and the addict must have thought Charlie was holding a weapon of his own because he whirled around in a panic, smashing the barrel of the pistol into Dan's head. Dan dropped to the ground, silent. In a split second Casey was by his side, lifting his head and cradling it.

"Danny, baby, Danny come on."

Charlie froze, hand in mid air. An empty space where Dan's shoulder should have been. The addict started backing off, hands on his head.

"No, no, no," he said. "That wasn't how this was supposed to go down. Fucking hero!" he spat at Charlie, then turned on his heel and ran.

"Charlie, 911." His father's voice was sharp and cut through the mist of panic.

He got out his phone and dialed all the time watching his father rock Dan in his arms. He looked like he was sleeping.

"Danny, wake up. Wake up, Danny. Come on, it was just a tiny knock, you're barely even bleeding. Come on. Please. Please, come on."

Charlie gave out the information to the kind voice on the end of the line. He heard muffled shouts around him now. People had seen them. Finally some help.

"Wake up, Danny. Do it for me." Casey smoothed back Dan's hair and he cradled the body closer, placing a careful kiss on his forehead. "I love you, do you hear me, you stupid idiot?"

Charlie stuffed his phone back in his pocket.

"Hey, look it's Casey McCall!" he heard and then saw a flash.

It took a second to register what had just happened and then the bottom dropped out of Charlie's world for the third time that evening. He swung around and yelled.

"Fuck off! Just leave us alone! Fuck off!"

He took a couple of steps towards the gathering crowd, doing his best to use every inch of his height. They scattered like pigeons. Cursing pigeons. True New Yorkers, these.

Charlie whirled back around and dropped down next to his dad.

"Dad, you have to give him to me. Listen. You have to give him to me."

"Charlie, it's Danny."

He wasn't getting it.

"Dad, give Danny to me. There are people. And there will be paramedics. You have to give him to me."

"I can't."

"There's a picture, Dad. There's at least one and there might be more. Please."

Charlie slipped an arm around Dan's shoulders, nudging his father's own arm away.

Casey nodded slowly as understanding dawned and Charlie never wanted to see that look on his face again.

"I'll take care of him, okay?"

More nods. And Casey stood, staggering away to lean on a lamppost while Charlie sat on the sidewalk, supporting Dan in his arms.

They did not move until the ambulance came.

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