Oh, The Places You'll Go

Shadows To The Unseen

Notes: phoebesmum had a birthday. So I wrote this. Girl sure does love Danny and guns.


It's just a dream, thinks Dan, staring in horror at the gun in his hand and the body on the floor, blood spreading from underneath: slow, insidious and irrevocable. But his heart is racing and there's a bitter taste in his mouth and, dream or not, he's running, feet barely touching the ground, running for his life. And in the distance there's a shape and it's coming towards him too fast, he can't escape and he raises the gun, steadies it with both hands, doesn't stop, can't stop and the shape is a man and he's holding a gun and Dan can't risk it so he shoots, he shoots. And there is a red flower blooming in the middle of the man's forehead and a look of shock on his face, dark, liquid eyes wide, mouth curved in terror, and it's not just a man it's himself. He has shot himself. Dan clasps a hand to his own forehead, feels the warm trickle between his fingers. He starts to sink.

He shoots upright in bed, hand searching for an imaginary wound, gasping out breaths as if he's just finished a marathon. Fuck. Fuck! Not again, not again, not again. Dan's eyes feel hot and he swallows hard against the lump in his throat. Every night for a week now, every night since it happened. And it's getting harder and harder to separate what is real from what is not. Because in his dream he's witness and perpetrator and victim all at once and that's not how it happened. Logically he knows this, but his primeval brain keeps telling him otherwise.

He untangles himself from his twisted sheets and goes to get a drink of water, switching on all the lights on the way, but his hands are shaking and the glass rattles against his teeth and he can't quite get himself coordinated. He puts the glass down before he breaks it. He thinks about calling Casey but then what excuse has he got? He can't talk about it. Can't make it real. More real. Besides, what does he expect Casey to do? Cut short the trip and come home? God, he wishes Casey would come home. There's a noise — it's New York, there's always noise, but this one is soft, like the snick of a latch. Dan's head whips round. There's nowhere to hide between the kitchen and the front door. There's no one there. His breath is shaky as he lets it out. Keeping one eye on the door by walking in a strange, crab-like fashion, Dan retreats to the bedroom. He shuts the door and only just stops himself pushing a chair up underneath the handle.

He sits down on the bed and opens the bedside table drawer. The gun lies there, nestled on cotton cloth, dull and black and monstrous. Carefully, almost reverently, Dan lifts it out and places it across one palm, shutting the drawer with the other hand. It's heavy. It should be heavy, with all the power it has, with all its potentiality of destruction, it should be heavy, Dan thinks. Fingers wrapped around the gun, he lies down, sliding it under the pillow. Maybe this way he'll sleep soundly.

He's stalking through the streets, making no sound, his two hands holding his gun steady against his shoulder. The gun morphs, it's a revolver, now it's a rifle, now it's an old cowboy's shotgun but the gun never alters the way he moves, sleek and fast, slipping through the air like a dolphin through water. He has to get to the place, to the alley, has to be there on time. He's not worried though, he's always on time. Never late for his very important date. And then the streets blur around him and he's in a dark alleyway, flattened to the wall behind a dumpster and he's not breathing, because he doesn't need to breathe because it's a dream dammit. He lays the muzzle of the gun on the dumpster and sights along it. Right on cue a shaft of light splits the darkness and a man stumbles out of a door. The door is slammed and the alley is black once more. Dan blinks to readjust, but the man is clear. In his own spotlight. Not telling jokes though. He's tall and rangy, wearing a brown leather jacket and worn jeans. He turns and sees Dan holding the gun and comes towards him, reaching into his pocket. No, no, no, no, Dan's heart is pumping and his palm is sweaty and he can't quite lift the gun because it's stuck to the metal and he's struggling and then there's a BANG.

The phone is ringing as Dan is jolted from sleep once again. He grabs it and growls "What?"

"Well, that's a delightful way to greet your favorite person." Casey's voice smoothes over Dan like soothing balm.

"Time is it?"

"Here? Three in the afternoon. Where you are? Ten a.m. Are you still sleeping?"

"Obviously not," says Dan, pressing the receiver tight against his head, wishing he could just crawl down the phone line and hide in Casey's lap. "Unless I've inherited your talent of sleep-talking."

"Funny boy," Casey's tone is affectionate and it makes Dan want to cry.

"Come home," he doesn't say. "Please, come home and make this all stop."

"Danny? You there?"

"Yeah, sorry, Casey. Spazzed out a bit, I'm tired."

"Thought you were going to be up and at 'em every day at eight, writing like your little heart depended on it."

"Nah, thought I'd just spend the advance on hookers and blow then wait to give you an STD when you came home."

"Didn't I tell you not to play Grand Theft Auto when you're on your own? You need Charlie or you go off the rails."

"But the hookers, they look so pretty with their cutting-edge fashions and scary gang tattoos."

"When I come home I'm cutting you off."

"When are you coming home?" Dan blurts out before he has a chance to stop himself.

"Soon. I've got almost everything I need. There's a meeting at the MCC tomorrow and a coupla loose ends and then I'm hopping the first flight back to New York."

Dan's so grateful that he feels tears pricking his eyes and has to do his best fake-Lamaze breathing to get himself under control.

"That's good, right?" Casey sounds insecure and Dan hastens to reassure him.

"Yeah, that's good. That's great. I miss you." He stops. Any more and he won't be able to control the shakes.

"Miss you too, Danny. Look, I've got to go. Sooner I get finished up here the sooner I get started over there." He's got a leer in his voice that Dan knows he's supposed to respond to but he can't.

"Bye, Casey. Love you."

There's a silence at the other end as if Casey is trying to puzzle something out.

"Love you, Danny. Bye."

Dan holds the phone against his ear until the whirr of the dead line is replace by flat air.

"Just. Come. Home," he whispers to no one in particular.

*

He's standing in the spotlight and the crowd is applauding but the crowd are bricks in a wall and he spins round to look for the compere but all he sees is the black barrel of a gun pointing at his head and he says I know the material is weak but I'm working on it, really, give me another chance and the cold metal is pressed against his forehead and it burns worse than the time he held his hand over his Zippo to see how long he could take the pain, the wrong kind of pain. And behind him there's a slow hand-clap and he whirls round so that the gun is pushing into his hair and he sees a shadow at the entrance to the theater/alley and it's familiar somehow and then he's holding the gun and there's a body on the ground wearing what he was wearing a second ago and he's got to run only the entrance is blocked by the shadow and the only way is up and he's not Spiderman so he twists round and round but there's no way out, no way out. No way out.

Dan's thrashing and yelling, trying to come up from sleep and he hears shots going off bangbangbang, bangbangbang and it takes a while but he finally realizes someone is knocking on the door. As he stumbles out of the bedroom he can hear his name being called and he rushes to the door, scrabbling at the chain and then his arms are wrapped tight around Casey and if anyone thinks he's letting go before next year then they're sadly mistaken.

"Good to see you too, buddy," says Casey, hugging him back one-armed at the same time as expertly maneuvering both them and his baggage inside, then kicking the door shut with an effective back heel. "Since when have you put the chain on the door?"

Dan evades this question the best way he knows how, by kissing Casey. Casey's lips are cold and Dan's are warm so Dan sets about warming Casey up, mouth sliding against mouth, tongue slipping past teeth, exploring nice and slow, hips rotating, creating friction. There's a thud as Casey's bag hits the floor, forgotten, and Dan starts for a second, tightening his grip. Then Casey's hand is in his hair pushing them closer then pulling him the barest inch away to say "bed, now," and somehow they're fumbling their way down the hall without letting go.

And it's a dream, not a nightmare, that Casey is naked above him and kissing his way down Dan's body. Dan doesn't shut his eyes because he doesn't want to miss a second of this, wants to watch his body respond to Casey's caresses, wants to see the heat in Casey's eyes, see his swollen mouth sink onto Dan's cock. Wants to watch the sweat building on his forehead, see the lock of hair that dislodges to swing and curl over one eye. So his eyes travel with Casey's hand when Casey reaches for the drawer in the bedside table and he smiles because he knows what Casey wants and what that means for him and he smiles until Casey's scrabbling hand stills and his face freezes and Dan remembers.

Then Casey is on his feet and he's staring at the drawer, then at Dan, then at the drawer, head going back and forth like he's at a tennis match and Dan is sitting up, arms wrapped tight against hunched knees as if the only one he can trust to hold him is himself.

"A gun! Fuck, Danny, a gun! In our apartment? What the hell is going on?"

And Dan wants to be brave, he should be brave but he's had enough now, he really has, all he wants is to be held and loved (and fucked would be good, but he's not going to push it). So he looks up at Casey and says "he was shot" and then all the tears he hasn't been crying try to make their appearance simultaneously. This is how he gets the first part of what he wants because Casey's beside him and pulling him into his arms and saying,

"Christ, Danny, what happened? It's okay, it's okay, shhhh."

Dan wonders how he can shh and tell Casey what happened at the same time but he's going to go with shh for now because his words are out of order. Disordered. Broken. So he cries some more and his face is wet and snotty and he knows how worried Casey is because he just bunches up some sheet and wipes Dan's face with it without complaining about the mess. He loves me, thinks Dan. I'm so glad he loves me.

Eventually he calms down long enough for Casey to leave him to bring him some water. Casey holds the glass steady for him while he gulps and then reaches across him to set it down. A drop of condensation falls from the glass on to Dan's bare belly and he concentrates on the cool sensation as it finds its own path. It's strangely calming. Casey's kneeling in front of him now, hands clasping Dan's feet.

"Tell me," he says.

And Dan finds that if he focuses on the scar just below Casey's left knee he can talk without his voice catching. Magic scar, maybe.

"It was last Sunday. I was bored, restless. You weren't here, everyone was busy, nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one to see. There were ants in the pants of the ants in my pants."

Casey nods, he's been on the receiving end of that mood often enough.

"So I went for a run, felt good. Wind in my hair, pounding rhythm under my feet, the whole poetic thing. Then, I don't know, I put my foot down wrong and went over on my ankle. I cursed, of course, and pulled up. Slid down the corner of the building I'd found myself at and waggled my foot around a bit."

What shape was that scar? It wasn't a crescent. Something to do with moons.

Casey waits. Dan blinks a couple of times and continues. His voice is conversational, matter of fact, he's not going to give this the glamour it doesn't deserve.

"I heard arguing. In the alley next to me there was someone arguing. It sounded like someone was scared. I don't know what made me look, I just did. I looked and there was this guy about my height pointing a gun at this other guy. And that guy reached for his pocket and I don't know if he was thinking straight because the first guy blew his head off. And I sat there and watched him fall to the ground. I didn't fucking move. The only thing I did was flatten myself into the wall when the gunman ran past, didn't try to stop him. Did nothing, Casey. Big, fat nothing."

Casey's hands slide up Dan's legs but Dan closes his own hands over them, stopping them in their tracks. He isn't ready to be comforted.

"So I managed to get to my feet and I went into the alley because somehow I thought maybe I could help even though I'd seen the back of this guy's head come off and splatter on the wall. And he was lying there, soaking in his own blood and there was a small hole in his forehead, perfect circle, black around the edges with a red centre. Like he'd been in some Hindu ceremony or something. Apart from that he looked like he'd just fallen asleep. He was fucking beautiful, Casey. A beautiful dead thing. I checked. Airway, breathing, circulation, I remembered it all. Knelt in his blood, put my hand on his mouth. It was still warm. Of course it was still warm."

Gibbous. That's right. Casey has a gibbous moon scar. How the hell did he come by that? Why does Dan not know the story of this scar?

His hands tighten over Casey's.

"After that's it's a blur. I banged on the door of the building. Someone called 911. Then there were people everywhere, paramedics, police. They took me to the station and I had to give a statement and they took my prints then someone brought me home, I think. I can't really remember. I know I threw my clothes in the trash, had a shower, went to bed, had horrific nightmares."

He shrugs.

"Fuck," says Casey. "Fuck. Why the hell didn't you call me? No, well I know why you didn't, because you're a fucking martyr, aren't you?" He retrieves one of his hands and forces Dan's chin up, really looking at him for the first time since he's come home. "You've had nightmares every night." It's not a question.

Dan responds with a slow blink. Casey drops his hand to Dan's shoulder and seems to be hovering over whether to shake him or hug him.

"I would have come home. And it would have been my decision. Because what I do should be my decision, not yours. We share our lives, Danny, you can't withhold information from me because it meets your criteria of what's best for me. How is this best? To come home and find you in this state?"

He stops short and bows his head until it's resting on Dan's knees.

"And now I'm harassing you and you've already taken as much as you can. I'm sorry."

Dan lays a hand in Casey's soft hair.

"Help me," he says and Casey looks up at him as if his heart is broken wide. He scrambles to his knees, pushing Dan's legs apart, getting between them and wrapping his arms around Dan like he's the glue holding Dan together. Which, Dan supposes, he is.

"I'm going to be right here, Dan," Casey says into the side of Dan's head, voice raw. "Right here. I'll help you find the right person so you can fix this. Whatever it takes. Okay?"

"Okay." Dan feels stronger already. He knows he's a sad cliché, that he's better as half of this partnership than he is alone, but he's way past caring about that. He'd rather have Casey and be a cliché than be alone and be a unique and special snowflake any day. He yawns and Casey relaxes his grip.

"Sleep for you," he says. "And for me." Casey glances at the radio alarm. "I've been up for almost 24 hours and I'm far too old to be pulling all-nighters. Come on."

They settle down, Casey spooned around Dan, one arm thrown protectively over his chest, legs tangled.

"What about the wild welcome home sex?" mutters Dan, already half-asleep.

"Tomorrow," says Casey, giving Dan's cock a goodnight tug.

He is hiding in the shadows, watching the puppets dance and sway and the children are laughing and clapping but then it turns dark and one of the puppets is a real boy Pinocchio and he has a gun, oh my, and the other puppet thumbs his nose and sticks out his tongue and the children gasp because they know that's stupid and he should really tell him to stop but he's in quicksand and he's sinking and he can't get there fast enough and it's not quicksand, it's blood and he's drowning and the gun is getting bigger and then strong arms are pulling him out from under and Dan is guided back to reality by Casey's voice, steady and sure. He wakes to find himself held against Casey's chest, being soothed and rocked and stroked. He feels his heart slowing and his breathing steady and places his palm on Casey's chest to feel the warm life thrumming under his hand.

He's alive, Casey's alive. He thinks maybe Scarlett got it right.


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