micehell: (josh)
[personal profile] micehell posting in [community profile] lj_snarchive
I was going through my last year's fic and realized I never posted this here, so yays for tidying up. ;)

Fandom: Sports Night
Title: Oh, These Many Years
Category: Casey/Danny; future fic (from the show's timeframe, though just about current otherwise), drama, with a touch of angst and a soupcon of humor
Rating: PG-13 (though, sadly, mostly just for a mention of sex rather than anything risque ;)
Warnings: none
Summary: All tradition is merely the past (Krishnamurti)

_____________________________________________

Casey: No, Dan, and thank you very much for correcting my every mistake no matter how small, oh these many years.
Dan: What are friends for?
Casey: Annoying the hell out of you?
Dan: Exactly.
(Quo Vadimus)

~*~

Casey sipped the eggnog, already knowing how it was going to taste; smooth, creamy, excellent. Jeremy had mastered mixing the stuff years ago even if, ten years down the line, he was still working on actually drinking a whole glass of the stuff. Natalie had finally caved after the second year and told him that it wasn't actually a thing with her family, but by that point it was an office tradition. It just wouldn't be the holidays without watching Jeremy spit take a perfectly delicious glass of eggnog.

"What do you want for your gift this year?" he asked Danny, which was also a tradition, though one of much longer standing, dating almost as far back as they'd known each other. Sometimes Danny asked for some expensive gift for Christmas. Sometimes he wanted smaller treats for each day of Hanukkah. And one time he demanded Casey greet him with Habari Gani? for every day of Kwanzaa. But more often, especially when it was Lisa and her husband's year with Charlie, Danny insisted Casey wine (or rather beer) and dine (far too much Ray's pizza and Doritos) him while they watched football and heckled the announcers.

He'd never not told Casey what he wanted. Something concrete and givable, and nothing that required Casey to have to think about what he'd like to give.

Danny just shrugged when he asked, though, sipping the Johnny Walker Blue that Isaac had been giving him since that first year working together. Isaac, who even in the beginning had never had to ask Danny what he wanted, and that thought stung, as Casey knew it should.

Casey thought about arguing with Danny. It was something they did all the time, after all, and after over fifteen years of honing their craft, they were damn good at it. But Danny's holiday moods were the longest standing tradition he knew (leaving the office party early because Lisa wanted to go, seeing the new intern he'd only just met last week, outside in the cold instead of inside with the others, smoking a cigarette, alone). Part of it was just the holiday blues that people tended to get, especially when their lives didn't match (couldn't possibly match) the Norman Rockwell-esque or It's a Wonderful Life type of holiday bullshit, part of it was things Danny was still (would always be) reluctant to talk about. Danny could sometimes laugh it off, had definitely gotten better over the years, had even learned to value himself more, but not even Abby, as good as she had been, could have made him unmarked (undamaged) by the past.

And maybe it said bad things about Casey, but he was okay with that. He liked Danny to be Danny; he liked change best in small doses. So he just shrugged too. Beer, Ray's, Doritos, and heckling it was.

But Danny wasn't finished, staring down at the scotch in his glass like it was the script he was reading from. "I don't want a gift for Christmas or Hanukkah or Boxing Day or whatever. Nothing that's for something and not... just for me."

Casey was sometimes oblivious, but more often than not he just used it as a screen to not deal with things he didn't think he could, well, deal with. Not without fights or dating plans, or, God, Danny looking at him with those wounded eyes that shouldn't even be legal they're so effective. But Casey certainly wasn’t oblivious enough not to get what was potentially at stake here. This was also a tradition, though not for any set time of year, nor on any kind of regular basis. Just from time to time when Danny got tired of pretending that what they'd both sacrificed for (giving up what could have been far more fame and money on other shows, on other networks, to stick with what they did best (with who they were best)) was everything he really needed.

But to give Danny a gift that wasn't for any reason but because Casey wanted to give it (the one thing Casey knew perfectly well that Danny wanted without needing to ask)? That was change in anything but small doses. And a change that Danny would never insist he make. Because that was another part of the tradition; Casey pretending he didn't get it and Danny pretending he hadn't said it, until enough time had passed that they could forget they were pretending at all.

Maybe it was the eggnog, a hint of bourbon making it sweeter still. Maybe it was that wounded look that Casey hated, but kind of loved just the same. Maybe it was just time: Charlie in college (not a hint of sports, but still Phi Beta Kappa like his old man) and Lisa remarried (Casey didn't think happily, but he wasn't sure she was capable of it anymore, and he was sad for her, but it was years past the point where he could help). Dana moved up in the sports world, Isaac moved out of it, Natalie at the helm (still ditzy, but the years at Fox had served her well). Jeremy still Jeremy (happily playing Natalie's whipping boy when she needed it, her right hand when she didn't, content to try to drink eggnog for her even if she just laughed when he did it). Kim moved on with Dana, but the guys were still around, as odd and cool as usual. Time had passed for all of them, and all of them had moved on with it; change in small doses and large.

Or maybe it was just Danny; pretty lips that tasted like scotch, that tasted even better when it mixed with the bourbon on Casey's tongue. Danny who was still by him, who had never left even when he probably should have.

Danny who asked, as if there were no one around (no one looking or whispering or trying to figure out who had won the office pool if the look on Natalie's face was anything to go by), "Why?"

Casey made his living by making long stories short, reducing hours of play into seconds of explanation, but he couldn't have even guessed where to start on that one. When he had first noticed Danny he could remember. The first time he'd dreamt of him, the first time he'd jacked off thinking about him, the first time Casey had made him cry, cried for him, or because of him; all anniversaries Casey actually knew, but would never in a million years tell Danny about. But Casey really couldn't say why now when not before... well, beyond the fact that he hadn't given himself time to overthink it, or to listen to the voice in his head (that sounded remarkably like Lisa) that always pointed out what could, and most likely would, go wrong (Danny wasn't the only one who wasn't unmarked by the past). So he just shrugged again and answered, "Because it's something I've always wanted to give you. And because you can return it without any hard feelings at all."

Danny laughed (at Casey, with Casey, at Natalie giving them a thumbs up, off his holiday mood) and gave the kiss back.

/story
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