Oh, The Places You'll Go

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Notes: This was the first actual fic I wrote (drabbles aside). I was then, and will ever be, grateful to phoebesmum for her support, encouragement and impressive way with punctuation. I'd like to think I've come a long way since then. Post canon or else an AU. No spoilers.


"He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not," muttered Dan under his breath, feverishly pulling petals off an orange gerbera. Intent on his task, he did not notice the glass door to the office swing open.

"Whatcha doing there, Dan?" enquired Casey.

Dan's head snapped up, lips still moving but no sound emerging. Eyes wide, his gaze darted between Casey and the flower in his hand.

"Just, you know, depetalling this gerbera."

"Is that even a word?"

"What? Gerbera? I'm pretty sure that gerbera is a word, Casey, yes. Or, you know, a phylum or something."

"Stop avoiding, Danny. Spill."

"Look, it's nothing OK." Dan waved his free hand dismissively. "I've got to go to editing." And he was out of his seat and away.

"Strange boy," Casey grinned to himself and sat down to work on his script.

Outside Editing Dan halted, staring at the partially destroyed flower.

"Damn it," he said, "I can't remember if he loves me or he loves me not. I'm gonna have to start again. This has to be right." He dropped the now useless gerbera into the trash, turned on his heel and headed for the lobby with its typically theatrical flower arrangements.

Merely minutes later Dan sat huddled in a dark corner of Editing, once again muttering under his breath, "He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not." Two-thirds of the petals lay scattered around his chair when the door flew open and in bounded Natalie.

"Danny!" she called, her curls taking on a life of their own as she bounced up and down on her toes.

Dan tried manfully to ignore her and concentrate on his task but Natalie could never be denied. It wasn't safe. Much more undemanding to be Peter the Apostle and deny Jesus.

"Danny, come on, I need you."

"He loves me," thought Danny. "Remember he loves me."

"What d'you want, Natalie?"

"I'm bored," whined Natalie, "come and entertain me."

"Isn't that what Jeremy is for?"

"Jeremy had to go to the dentist. You're up. You're my back up man. You are the guy. You are..."

"Stop! You got me." Dan stood up and followed the closest thing there was to a human version of Tigger out of the room. He glanced at the flower in his hand.

"-?-" Dan's mind was a complete blank. It took a few seconds before he remembered how to think. "Which was it?" he thought with rising panic. "I forgot again?" He smacked himself around the head Natalie-style and dropped another gerbera in the trash.

The day passed, the six o'clock run down came and went and Dan was no further in his quest for The Truth. As he furtively made his way back to the lobby he wondered how The Truth had come to assume capital letters in his mind. Sneaking a third flower out of the previously pristine display he wondered if therapy with Abby had actually made him crazier. What was he hoping for anyway? What would the right answer be? What would he even do with the answer once he had it?

Dan headed for the studio, hopeful he would get the couple of minutes' quiet he needed. Sitting behind the desk he shared with Casey he started again.

"He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me ..."

This time Dan got almost all of the way around the gerbera before being interrupted.

"Dan," came Jeremy's voice over the studio intercom. "Isaac wants to see you in his office right away. Come out, come out wherever you are."

Realising that he had been thwarted in his quest yet again by his hopeless memory Dan swept the petals off the anchor desk, stuffing them into his pocket. "It's not even as if there are lots of options," he scolded himself. "There're two. I should be able to remember one out of two for the duration of a sentence." He puffed out his chest. "I'm a pretty smart guy. I went to Dartmouth. I know more about sports than most people would consider healthy." His chest deflated, "But I can't remember if he loves me or not. Stupid, stupid, stupid."

The fourth time Dan snuck downstairs to liberate a gerbera, red this time, from the prison of its increasingly dishevelled arrangement, he began to feel a little dumb. Contemplating the perfection of the flower he had stolen he began to wonder if he was becoming somewhat obsessed. He kept getting interrupted and could never remember at what point where he'd got to in his litany. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be. Perhaps he wasn't supposed to find out. But it couldn't hurt to have one more try, could it?

Walking past Dana's office, Dan noticed Casey, Natalie and Jeremy had all joined her there. The amount of wild gesticulating from Natalie and head nodding from Jeremy suggested they were in the middle of something that might take some time. He headed back to the office he shared with his partner.

Standing by the window, as the New York sky line was claimed by the dark, Dan began his mission again.

"He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not ..."

This time there were no interruptions. Dan reached the last petal. It floated down gently to join the others strewn around him like confetti.

"He loves me," he stated confidently and knew this was The Truth.

"Who loves you, Danny?"

Dan whipped round to see Casey leaning in the doorway, the shadows cast on his face making his expression unreadable.

"How long have you been standing there?"

"Isn't the standard answer 'long enough'? Who loves you, Danny?" repeated Casey insistently.

Dan swallowed hard. His voice, when it finally came, sounded odd to his ears. Strangled, perhaps.

"Umm. It's not that simple, Casey. Bear in mind that this gerbera," he held up the denuded stalk, "- this ex-gerbera - represents The Truth."

"You've capitalized that, haven't you, Danny?" grinned Casey. "Who loves you, Danny?"

"The Truth," Dan squeaked, waving the stalk wildly in Casey's direction.

"Who loves you, Danny?"

"Well that's kind of ... umm," Dan drew a deep breath and plunged into the abyss. "You."

"Me?"

"You."

"And the gerbera told you this?" asked Casey, crossing the room to stand in front of Dan.

"Mmhmm."

"Right," Casey nodded, stepping close enough so that Dan could feel hot breath warming his face.

"Clever flower," Casey continued.

Dan gulped; his heartbeat quickening.

"Did it tell you who loves me?"

"Course not," croaked Dan.

"Why not?"

"'Cos it's a flower, Casey. It may be The Truth but it can't actually, you know. Talk."

Casey grinned. As his knees liquefied, Dan swore eternal gratitude to the window for preventing an ignominious slump to the floor.

"I apologise, Danny. I was unaware of the limitations of the power of your gerbera. Seems we're going to need to find a different way to answer my question."

As Casey moved closer, still grinning, he slid one hand around the back of Dan's neck. The beating of Dan's heart was almost painful now, his eyes wide with a strange mixture of fear and longing and his mouth twitching with the beginnings of an answering smile.

Casey's long fingers spread upwards into Dan's hair, caressing the curve of his head. Applying gentle pressure he brought Dan's lips to meet his in a barely-there kiss before moving back a fraction of an inch.

"The gerbera says I love you?"

"It does."

"The gerbera is The Truth?"

"It is."

"So. I guess I love you, Danny."

Casey again brushed Dan's lips with his own extracting a pleading sound somewhere from the depths of his partner's soul.

"Who loves me, Danny?"

He kissed Dan for the third time, this time allowing it to linger a second longer. Dan felt the hair on his neck prickle in response.

Dan swallowed hard to prevent his voice from cracking as he replied. "I do, Casey. I love you."

Their arms wound tightly around each other and the two men laughed into each other as their lips met.

"Huh," thought Dan, before his higher brain function became overwhelmed by the deluge of information from his senses, "it's kinda cool something can blossom from butchering a flower. Four flowers." As he ground himself closer to Casey the gerbera stalk dropped unnoticed from Dan's grasp.


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