Sending And Receiving
by Scy

There were times when Rusty wished that Danny didn't think placating him with wild ideas and excellent food was the way to keep him from realizing when things weren't going the way they should. Between the two of them Rusty could forgive quite a lot if a good meal was offered as compensation, but there were limits.

For instance, he no longer attended weddings or funerals in pursuit of a contact. There weren't enough fashionable centerpieces, uncommon decorations and lavish buffets to make up for dealing with the negatives of such events. His biggest complaints concerned the crowds of relentlessly friendly strangers who either wanted to ramble on for hours about nothing he wanted to even pretend he cared about, or who tried to persuade him to socialize on their level and marry their daughters, and not always in that order.

"You look like a good catch," Danny explained. He didn't look to be that sympathetic, even after one especially determined grandmother wearing a hairpiece in a faint violet shade and taffeta gown had cornered Rusty and demanded to know how much he made after taxes, and whether he kept a house in the Hamptons.

"I'm not a fish, Daniel, and this woman had more than a casual line out." In fact she had presented herself as slightly nearsighted initially and appealed to Rusty's instincts as a gentleman to lead her around the room. He'd seen through that ploy when she quite obviously sized Danny up and wondered aloud if there were any other 'nice young men' left. As soon as he could, Rusty had detached himself and left her with a man sitting by himself and working determinedly through a bottle of champagne. Of course Danny had seen his escape and thought it was funny.

"What do you expect from someone who doesn't have anything to do but hunt down prospective husbands for their daughters?"

Rusty didn't comment on what he thought, if Danny happened to find the ride a bit more harrowing than usual, he'd made his point.

Privately Rusty thought that Danny was the better candidate for marriage; he had the inclination to remake himself more often for the benefit of his girlfriends, Rusty found that being as close to himself as possible made it easier to keep track of what he was supposed to be doing. Danny had his own methods, although the danger lurking there didn't present itself immediately.

At first Rusty ignored most of the attempts to secure him as a suitor while they worked various events, but then there were lingering glances at Danny; particularly when he pulled the car up to give Rusty a ride after one of these events. Then Rusty began to think that the danger might not be the fact that he was being chased like a fox, but that Danny didn't object to being caught from time to time, and had an open mind when it came to letting himself get invested in a girl. It would be just Rusty's luck that Danny got too involved with someone and forgot what he was good at and tried to balance his actual work with being an ornament on some social peacock's arm.

At yet another tedious if potentially filling social occasion, a woman who claimed to be the ultimate authority on 'high society' had corned Rusty for just over seven minutes when he decided he'd had enough. Putting his hands in his pockets, his fingers scratched something that crinkled and he smiled at something the woman said. Drawing his hand out of his pocket, he crumpled a wrapper overtly. She paused in her lecture to watch as he flicked the candy into his mouth. Making an apologetic gesture, he let her know that he couldn't continue their conversation with his mouth full, and she made a sympathetic noise about his sore throat. Rusty nodded in agreement and mimed a severe cough. That put his captor off and she fluttered her hands concernedly as he slipped past her.

Catching sight of Danny making friends with a man who might have connections they could use, Rusty glided just past him, working the chocolate around in his mouth without biting down. He didn't look back to see if Danny saw him; they had their routines and as Rusty had just departed ahead of plan, Danny could think on his feet.

Sure enough, he'd just worried his candy down to a sweet slide on his tongue when someone took his elbow as if gently guiding him. Rusty could smell Danny's cologne and another scent that jarred like the sweep of a searchlight and had to be from whoever Danny had been talking to.

"We made a contact," Danny told him, talking more for the sake of providing background noise than because Rusty wanted to know. "That's all we needed, really, that's the end of the family circuit."

Circus, Rusty corrected him silently and rolled his eyes up without glancing over at Danny.

"So I was looking for the clowns and elephants too," Danny conceded and his fingers pressed harder on Rusty's elbow for a second but the pressure eased, that wasn't the way they made points stick.

As his hand moved to his pocket again, Danny caught his pinky finger and turned his hand over to drop something in his palm.


Raising his hand, Rusty felt Danny's fingers drag lightly against the back of his hand before falling away. He unwrapped the heat-softened chocolate and bit down.

The chocolate left a smear on Danny's collar and neck but he retrieved the bag from his coat and let Rusty indulge himself.


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