dried imperfections
by Oro

i. perfect circles.

They sit in their office doing nothing, and he's addicted to this silence that they have.

He listens to Casey's even breathing as his eyes travel over his own reflection in the window, lines creating his shape on a New York City background. He wants to tell Casey that he is lights and buildings and infinite darkness, the way you can feel lonely in a street full of people who couldn't give a damn.

His hand is numb underneath his chin, and he coughs the words that get caught in his breath.

"You okay, man?" Casey asks.

Dan just nods.


ii. you never know.

He swallows tequila shots and his head is spinning.

Dana and Natalie burst into singing, and for some reason, it seems like the only logical thing to do. They survived another unimaginably brutal winter, with the wrath of share holders and Calvin Trager, and like the Indians they celebrate by getting really drunk. Or something like that, he wasn't really listening when Jeremy delivered his post-three shots speech.

He tries to focus his vision on something, anything, and it's entirely possible that Casey's hand is on his knee. He closes his eyes and opens them again; maybe it's not.


iii. the eye inside.

Casey doesn't look him in the eye, and he doesn't say anything; he just sticks his hands in his pockets, and the sound of skin rubbing against fabric is too audible in Dan's ears.

He doesn't feel comfortable anymore, with this now awkward silence between them and his idiotic idea to tell Casey how he feels doesn't seem brilliant like it did when he couldn't wait to get it out in the open.

Casey gives him a crooked look, as if Dan might've changed at all because now there are these feelings that Dan has that Casey can't deal with.


iv. nobody sleeps.

And he just feels like crap, because he shouldn't have said anything to Casey in the first place and now Casey is all pissed off that Dan hasn't told him that he's gay, or bisexual, or whatever in the first place.

He writes forty-eight self-punishing words on a piece of paper because he doesn't keep a journal. He folds the paper carefully four times and throws it into the trash can. He can't tell whether or not he just did one of those things that tear up a friendship.

The paper falls between banana peels and candy wrappers.


v. the trap.

He listens to the moon that doesn't have anything substantial to tell him and feels like death. It's suddenly become too hot for a blanket, and winter has just barely ended. He feels the texture of the cotton sheets with his toes.

He gets up to take a shower, because his mom told him when he was a kid that it helps you sleep, though she was probably talking about something else. The cold water doesn't cool his skin and he feels wet and too stupid to have a functional relationship with anyone.

And maybe Casey's the same way. Maybe.


vi. making love work.

They write in silence now, each to his own, no banter or anything outside of, "do you think it sounds better this way or that way." Their breathing, swallowed in the sound of general bullpen clatter, sound like awkwardness and everything they don't want to say.

Dan sits upright, constantly aware of his spine and posture, constantly uncomfortable. He eats some potato chips to get rid of the constant bile and sickly feeling, and it'll be hard to rid his fingers of the greasy feeling later.

Their time alone makes him feel like there's something wrong with who he is.


vii. timing & space.

Casey starts doing that thing where he flirts with Dana for no apparent reason.

He walks up to her with that look and she rolls her eyes because she knows what's about to happen.

Danny sends a tiny gaze in their direction.

Dana laughs neurotically, nervously when Casey's eyes meet hers, and this time she's had enough of his shit to last for the next fifteen years. Something that starts with who the hell does he think he is and ends with not going to play this stupid game anymore.

She wants to show him that she's grown beyond that.


viii. tears, bones and desire.

Neither of them has.

They lay next to each other, and his skin is sticky from saliva and the touch of her sweaty palms on his chest. They smell like sex and disappointment. Dan stares at the ceiling and it's not what either of them wants to be doing. (But it sure as hell beats the alternative.)

They're a fucked up love triangle, or a vicious circle, or whatever the hell. He caresses her shoulders and her breasts. Her eyes are clear blue and her stare is blank.

Dana suggests, and he agrees, to just forget that this ever happened.


ix. the opening.

Dana's tired voice cracks in Casey's earpiece, and he smiles a fake smile as he nonchalantly sends the show to commercials.

Dan thinks vindictive thoughts as he stares into the bright lights that surround him. He feels like a complete jackass for doing so; for being stupid and for caring what Casey McCall thinks and what Casey McCall says and what Casey McCall does.

He's tired of pretending not to care.

He rubs his eyes and it feels like there's a hole in his stomach. Flashing a smile at the camera, he empties his mind of earthly things like sanity.


x. everyone leaves.

He bought a ticket to Spain, because hopefully he'll remember it this time.

He figures it's time to go away, for a little while; just to get away until (what?). He had read brochures about Barcelona and small villages, and the way everyone smiles like they aren't dead inside. He wants to be that.

His bag is packed and heavy in his hand. He's about to leave when the phone rings, and it doesn't feel important the nanoseconds before he picks it up.

The bag falls with a thud on the floor, and Spain is farther than it's ever been.


xi. death works overtime.

(Y'hey sh'met rabbah m'varach l'alam u'l'almey almahyah.)

It's his father's funeral, and his bristles are showing.

His relatives stand beside the open grave and chant "amen" through tears, and his own won't come. Dan stands in the back, and he is the only one whose lips aren't moving.

(Oseh shalom beem'roh'mahv, hoo ya'aseh shalom aleynu v'al kohl yisrael v'eemru: Amen.)

Casey's hand is suddenly on his shoulder. He didn't think Casey would come. The skies are grey and Casey's breath is warm on his neck.

"Amen," he whispers.

(They stand in the wind. Droplets of spring rain begin to fall.)


xii. twilight.

"Why did you come?"

"I wanted to."

"No, really, did you leave your wallet here, or --"

"Danny..." Cough. "I came because it's what friends do, when... it's what friends do."

"Right." (His heels dig into the sand, raindrops shining on his shoes.)

"I shouldn't have said -- before, when you said -- I shouldn't have -- you were gay all of a sudden, or something, and I was this guy..."

"Please, don't ever finish that sentence." A quick glance at Casey's face, then back to a certain point in the distance.

Chuckle. "I won't."

(There's this silence, almost like forgiveness. Almost.)


xiii. i'm sorry, i'm lost.

They lay in Casey's bedroom doing nothing, and he's addicted to this silence that they have.

He listens to Casey's even breathing as his eyes travel over his Casey's body, skin and bones creating this image he had that crashed into a New York City sidewalk when he wasn't paying attention. He wants to tell Casey that he has no idea what they're doing.

His fingers trace triangles over Casey's chest, feeling the texture of his skin with the pads of his fingers, and he breathes out the words silently, to himself.

"I like this," Casey says.

Dan just nods.


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