Note: This is Hot Fuzz
fan fiction – done out of love, not for
profit, and without permission, obviously.
Nicholas/Danny slash, rated G (with swearing). Any feedback?
Feel free to comment here
Flared nostrils, a small twitch in his jaw, throbbing music... Keanu
Reeves – an objectively beautiful man, although not at all a
convincing FBI agent – locked eyes with Patrick Swayze in what
Nicholas identified without difficulty from his dramatic studies as the
secondary emotional peak before the A-plot climax. During his first
viewing he had been too stunned by the giant rubber masks and
procedural misrepresentations to take much in. That, and slightly
confused by the presence of Danny, large and warm and smelling
cheerfully of beer, wanting to share it all with him.
On this, their third time through it, Danny had forgotten to watch for
his reactions, and was leaning forward, mouth open, completely absorbed
in the scene. His face contorted slightly and he bit his lip in
anticipation of the conflict to come. He was a good man, if a little
simple and unguarded. Awkwardly, Nicholas reached over to pat his arm.
"I always think they're going to kiss," Danny said, eyes fixed on the
Nicholas' hand froze just above Danny's sleeve. "What was that again?"
A sigh of tension released left Danny as the two men walked away from
each other onscreen, and he said again, still abstracted, "Always think
they're going to kiss." He'd raised his voice a bit, apparently
thinking Nicholas hadn't been able to hear him.
Nicholas watched his hand rotate back to above his own knee and then
drop with robotic stiffness. He looked up at the screen, his view cut
by the bump of Danny's ear. "Why would you think that?" he asked, at
"Hm? Well, they love each other, don't they."
"Not everyone who loves each other – loves each other in that
way," Nicholas said, wincing as the words emerged with a bizarrely
parental ring. Although he did in some sense stand in loco parentis
to Danny, having assisted in apprehending his father, Inspector
Butterman, earlier that year. Not an entirely comfortable thought.
"Aw, yeah, but it's the sexual tension. You know." Leaning back into
the seat and waving his hands, Danny contiued, perfectly
matter-of-factly. "Homo-erotic, thing. Where they want to get off with
each other but they can't, so they fight. And shoot people. It's really
common in these."
Nicholas blinked. In front of him, a man's hand stroked down the length
of a gun with unnecessary enthusiasm. Danny settled comfortably back so
their shoulders were touching and picked up his beer.
"And that – doesn't bother you," Nicholas said, asking himself
why, since he'd had months' worth of evidence that Danny was very fond
of this type of film indeed.
"Bother me?" He seemed puzzled, but gave honest thought to the
question. "Nah. It's nice, I mean... they all do it..."
Nicholas blinked again. Words flashed through his head, echoing in his
ears: "But he can't shoot him, because he loves him so much..."
Danny opening the cabinet, row on row on row. "Danny," he heard himself
asking slowly. "Have you ever – had a girlfriend?"
"Oh, yeah, lots," Danny said, wiping his chin.
He hesitated, but curiosity drove him on. "Did you do much with them?"
"What, go to pictures, that sort of thing?" Danny glanced over and saw
his expression. "Oh, you mean fool around." Nicholas relaxed, relieved
of the need to elaborate. There was a brief pause while Danny thought
back. "Not really, no. There was this one girl, Polly, who was always
after it, but... tell you the truth, never could get too worked up. I
mean, it was nice and all, but. Weren't all that exciting really. Have
Nicholas was watching the screen, but he had stopped taking in the
details of the film. Keanu Reeves was shirtless, again. "No, thank you,
Danny," he said. "I believe I'd better go home now."
Danny pouted and groaned. "You sure," he protested, moving his own
half-finished bottle under Nicholas' nose as if to remind him of the
appeal. "I've got another pack of nuts I haven't opened."
Nicholas dodged this temptation and cut a swift path to the exit,
pausing with a hand on the doorframe to look back over his arm. The
dimly lit room looked like a rat's nest, disgraceful and comforting and
cozy, a barren mess centered on the sagged-together spot on the couch
where they spent their nights by the television. Danny was standing,
his leg pressed to the cushion as if attached, confusion and
disappointment writ large on his face, holding out the beer bottle and
two packets of nuts.
"Yes," Nicholas said. "I'm sure."
"Ah." Nicholas noted it down.
They had been sitting in the car in mostly awkward silence for the
better part of an hour. There weren't many drivers on the road, and all
of those so far had been well-behaved. He would almost welcome a
high-speed pursuit on a day like this, with Danny's sidelong glances
wearing him down from the other seat.
How had this become uncomfortable? Simply doing his job, side by side
with his partner? Suddenly he was conscious of every move Danny made,
every shift in his seat or clearing of his throat. He felt tense,
potentially ridiculous. Even Danny had come to notice that something
was wrong, after three days of stiff silences and refused invitations.
"Got a new Jackie Chan the other day. Heard he breaks his leg in the
Of course, he had always been a little disturbed by Danny's presence,
but on the whole, he'd considered it positive. An edge kept you sharp,
energized. Helped you focus; helped you think. Setting a good example
was a constant motivation, as well. Danny made him a better officer, in
fact, and the giddy warmth his friendship so often engendered made the
days more bearable. No, more enjoyable. He hadn't enjoyed life quite so
much before he came to Sandford, and, in retrospect, that should have
been a warning.
A car went by. "32."
"Why not," Danny said, reopening the argument.
"I just feel we've been spending too much time together." Another car:
Mrs. Harper and her daughter, on the way to the shops. "27. How old are
you?" he asked with a sudden burst of something near outrage.
"About the same as you," Danny said, adding smoothly under his breath,
"almost. Well, give or take a few years... five..."
"At least five, I'd say." But then, it would take at least
fifteen years' difference to explain the flip book.
"Thanks a lot," Danny said, stung. "It's the air in Sandford, it's
famous. 'S where I got my youthful complexion."
"That, and a daily diet of Cornettos," Nicholas said, intending to
sound reproving, and just sounding fond.
"Yeeeeah, man," Danny said, nodding, good humour restored at once.
The radio crackled. "Angel, you there?" a familiar voice drawled.
"Question for you."
"Doris wants to know if you've signed Tony's birthday card, over."
"Regulations clearly state that the police radio is not to be used for
personal purposes, Constable," he snapped. "And, yes. I signed it this
"Well, lah-di-dah," said Cartwright's voice, with a nearby echo of "Oh,
boo-hoo-hoo" from Sergeant Wainwright. "Sorry to disturb you,
Inspector." "Uptight bastard." "Didn't mean to distract you from your
very important work with a mere birthday." A rude noise
sputtered in the background. "We'll just keep on wasting time here at
the station being 'uman beings and shit while you go car-spotting on
lovers' lane with your lapdog."
Nicholas ignored Wainwright's clearly audible coda of "wanker" and said
coldly, "We're positioned off the main road, actually, Constable. And I
don't own a dog." Click.
"He meant me," Danny said.
Nicholas regained his grip on his patience. "I know." He cast a glance
over at Danny, really looking at him for the first time in days. He had
a gentle, open face, youthful complexion or no, and he wasn't really as
thick as all that. "I'm sorry. Don't you mind?"
"Mind? Nah. Forget about it. They're just jealous."
"Sure, because I'm the one gets to ride with you."
With a quiet shock, Nicholas realized Danny really believed that. He
was stunned, and touched.
Danny sensed a thaw and brightened. "So, we on for tonight? Pub?"
Nicholas turned to face front again, snapping his notebook to a blank
page. "No, we are not on. I told you. We work together, we're partners,
there's no need to spend every waking moment together as well. It's
On lovers' lane... on lovers' lane... He flashed on an image
the future: Danny looking casually over and saying, "So what you
thinkin.' Blow job?" No. Unprofessional. Unthinkable.
Danny whined. "But everybody spends time together outside the job.
You've seen 'em. It's a small town, we all have to hang out with
somebody. Might as well be somebody we like..."
Nicholas gave a frustrated sigh. "I'm not saying I don't like you, it's
just that, well, there's a reason fraternization is considered a
problem. There's a policy specifically against it. If you'll recall."
"There's not! Ooooh, oh. You mean, fraternizing, as in, frat-ern-izing.
Like how PC Doris used to fraternize with Andy." He scratched his ear
reminiscently and added, "And Andy."
Nicholas raised a warning finger. "I really didn't want to hear about
"Used to hang a helmet on the riot room door... Dad said at least
someone was keeping it dusted... 30. But what's that rule got to do
with anything? We ain't doing nothing we shouldn't."
"Aren't we?" Nicholas said gently, more to himself than Danny, knowing
the younger officer wouldn't understand. "Aren't we?"
And, sighing, he tipped his chin away and let his attention stray from
the road, to watch the shadows of the clouds move slowly away across
the peaceful green countryside.
"Nah, that rule's for people who are having it off," Danny said.
Nicholas' eyes cut to him. "Y'know, having an affair. Kissing, holding
hands, fiddling about, frottage, buggery, 69..."
"What? Oh." Nicholas let go of the wheel again and relaxed,
retrieving his notebook.
"Danny, you do know what those terms mean?"
"O'course! I think. Mostly?"
"Then you're aware of... you're conscious that..."
Danny looked at him with the patiently confused attentiveness of large
dog, waiting for direction.
"Never mind. Look. Let me put this in simplest terms. I cannot have a
drink with you this evening. I need to water my peace lily."
Piece by piece, Danny retreated into sullen dignity and turned himself
back to face the road. "Right then," he said. "Never did understand why
that takes all night..."
"It just does."
As Danny's response was technically sotto voce, Inspector Angel
chose to ignore it.
As a matter of fact, watering the lily took about fifteen minutes. And
that was with extra care taken to let the water gently trickle down to
permeate each quarter of the pot equally. And after that, a thorough
dusting of the leaves. And another. And that was it – finished.
That left almost a full evening to kill, and Nicholas had done so for
four nights in a row. He hadn't realized quite how necessary Danny's
companionship had become to his daily existence until he tried going
without it. How had he used to fill the empty hours? Had the room used
to be this silent? The floor this cold? The walls this... blank?
Right now, Danny would be bumbling about his small flat, possibly
watching movies by himself in the yellow light of the lamp, alone on
the sofa, or fishing his nightclothes out of cardboard boxes. His
window would be lit up still, as the rest of the row went dark.
Nicholas stifled a pang at the image and turned his mind to useful
subjects. However, studying the procedural manual or double-checking
the week's paperwork had no appeal tonight. He couldn't concentrate.
He tried lying on the bed doing his hand exercises, but tonight it
didn't seem as... safe... as usual. After the third time his fingers
strained closed by his thighs, he swung off the bed and leapt up. He'd
do some calisthenics. The carpet rose rapidly towards his eyes and away
again as he pumped against the floor. Lovers' lane... lovers' lane..
He'd go for a run. Yes, that was it. Hopping to his feet, his eye was
caught by motion, his reflection in the darkened window. He confronted
it: a keen-eyed officer stared back. Also, a lonely, thin, sandy-haired
man in pyjamas.
Admit it. Danny's constant affection had warmed him in ways he –
frankly hadn't been prepared for. His eyes began to drift downward.
A, ah... a run, that's right. He was going for brisk night run. From
the sound of things, it was starting to rain. Even better.
He located his trainers, hearing the panes crack as a burst of wind
shook the old building. Bracing. Trading the pyjamas for running gear,
he began to roll his shoulders and stretch, ignoring the
machine-gun-like rattle of rain beginning to beat against the roof.
Perfect. Despite the leisure of village life, he was still in top
physical condition. He glanced out the window again, seeing a few
branches and a shopping trolley go by, and set his lips firmly. Once
he'd made his mind up, he... a hand on the door, he weakened enough to
look over again in time to see a duck being blown through midair,
honking mournfully. Oh, bloody hell. What was the point.
Nicholas dropped into the single chair and wrapped his arms around the
peace lily, resting his head against the cool base of the pot. It was
calm, still, firmly bounded. It spoke of permanence. You love that
plant more than you do me, Jeanine had said. Nicholas wondered, for
the first time, whether the plant loved him more than Jeanine had. It
Until you find someone you care about more than the job...
In his thin vest and running shorts, it wasn't long before he started
to shiver, and the pot began to clatter a little, in time with the
rattling of the windows.
Three long days and four sterile nights later, Danny turned up at his
door at the hotel. It took only the sound of the knock to remind
Nicholas that he had had quite enough solitude for one lifetime.
He made an effort, nevertheless, blocking the door with his body and
leaving Danny in the hall. "I told you," he began. Danny surveyed
Nicholas' pyjama-clad frame with mild and open interest.
"Are you losing weight? You don't look well."
The younger man nodded. "Never mind. I know just what you need."
"For the last time, I do not want to have a drink."
Danny cut in, clearly pleased with himself, brimming with anticipation.
"Ah-ah, this ain't about beer. This is business." With a flourish, he
handed over Nicholas' uniform hat and said darkly, "There's been a
Three point four minutes later, they were in the car, safety belts
fastened and lights on. Inspector Angel was fully dressed, down to the
notebook. Sergeant Butterman was at the wheel. "Pedal to the metal?" he
Nicholas gave a tight nod. "Burn it."
The screeching reverse and fast driving down moonlit lanes that
followed were probably not entirely necessary, but Danny enjoyed them.
Somewhere in his soul, Nicholas took a certain secret satisfaction as
"Should we fire up the roof?"
"Best not... we don't want to wake these good people up. After all, we
are here about a disturbance of the peace."
Danny took a hand off the wheel to tap his nose. "Good point."
"There." Their target came into view, large and lumpy and advancing
steadily against the night sky. They cut the lights and stopped to
consider. The sound of voices drifted on the wind. "Only one group.
"Shall we roll our own?"
Danny fired the engine up again and they raced forward, spun the car to
a halt, blocking the lane, and jumped out to the sound of brakes and
Nicholas ignored the groans and raised his voice, slapping the driver's
license of the eldest teenager against his hand to get their attention.
"And I suppose a quiet ride in the moonlight on a borrowed piece of
farm equipment with a few good friends on a summer night is your idea
of a good time!" he said.
"Wull – yeah!"
"It's an old Sandford tradition."
"Do it every year."
"Danny used to drive."
Inspector Angel shot a look at Danny, who looked sheepish.
"You're aware that this is a violation of local noise ordinances,
driving without a license, right of way, curfew, improper care of hay,
and what's more, it's a school night."
The array of innocent faces looked blankly back at him – friends
and young lovers with their arms around each other, portable radios
hastily hidden in pockets. No consciousness of guilt in sight. "You'll
return this vehicle to its owner immediately and proceed to your
"Oh, yes, sir," they chorused, elbowing each other. "Yes, Inspector.
Right away." The engine revved and the truck proceeded to trundle
slowly off down the lane again. He suspected they were taking the long
Had he even begun in the slightest to convey to them a sense of...
Nicholas flipped his notebook closed and put it away, lips thin.
Smothered giggles drifted back to them on the evening breeze, and his
head snapped up. Danny put a supportive hand on his shoulder and said,
"It's over, Nicholas – it's over."
Nicholas sighed. Danny turned him around and guided him back to the
car. "They're not laughing at you," he said, coaxingly, "they're just
happy. It's safe to go cause a little trouble now that you're here. No
more disappearances, no strange accidents... They feel good knowing
they've got someone like you looking out for them. Everyone does."
"Do they?" Danny's sincerity was evident. Danny always had faith, in
him and the job – Danny was his rock. And it was true, he had
made a difference here. And the townsfolk had come to accept him in the
last few months, he knew that. Something thawed in Nicholas, some kind
of basic fear. He did belong here; he was wanted.
"Here. You're not sorry you didn't go back to London, are you?"
"I've never been happier in my life," he said honestly. His voice
cracked, just a little.
Danny heard it and pressed the advantage with childlike cunning. "Then
come to the pub?" he said.
A pint of lager crashed down in front of Danny, and Nicholas wrapped
his fingers around a glass of...
"Cranberry juice? Ah, not that again," Danny protested. When Nicholas
said nothing, he scooted closer and caught Nicholas' reluctant eyes.
"Now, look. You ain't been the same lately. What's wrong?" He lowered
his voice. "D'you miss her?"
"Who? Oh, my ex. Jeanine." Two people involved... signs of a
struggle... a complete mess. "Jeanine was a mistake. In
retrospect... quite a big mistake." Nicholas took a hasty swallow.
"So she wasn't the one. That's no reason to swear off all women," Danny
said wisely. Nicholas choked on his juice.
When he'd done mopping up, eyes on the clinical middle distance, he
said, "I don't think they're losing much with me, to be quite honest.
I'm not very attentive, not romantic, I'm told I'm not even a very good
"I bet you're fantastic," Danny said.
"Jeanine said I was a bit of a... cold fish."
"She didn't know you like I do," Danny said confidently.
Nicholas resisted the urge to bury his face in his hands. "Can we
perhaps not discuss my love life tonight."
"Perhaps that's just what we should be discussing, and all!" Danny
hunched closer again. "When's the last time you had a bit of fun? Maybe
what you need's a lady friend."
Nicholas snapped, "I'm not interested."
Danny shook his head. "I'm worried about you," he said, almost
maternally. "So are the others. Everyone says you're turning into a
terminally hardassed rulebound twat." Nicholas gave him a narrow-eyed
rebuking look. Danny corrected himself. "Turning back into one, I
mean." He leaned forward earnestly. "Doris says you've got to 'ave it
off with someone before you pop."
Nicholas winced. So much for the respect of his officers. He had tried
to instill a more professional atmosphere at the stationhouse, but it
would help if the woman didn't giggle every time he said the word
'discipline.' "Does she."
"She might be right, hey? You need to get some proper action. I mean,
the other kind."
"I don't think..." Nicholas jumped as Danny's hand landed on his knee.
"I can help you with that," Danny said, lowering his voice meaningfully
and patting, with an extra squeeze at the end. "I know lots of nice
girls. Set you up in no time."
Nicholas slammed his hand down on the table. Pint glasses jumped and
rattled. "This is absurd."
"It's not," Danny protested, full of bovine hurt. "I do know lots of
nice girls. Not saying they'd go out with me, mind, but you've got
that... nice high forehead... penetrating eyes... smoky voice... loads
of sex appeal..."
Nicholas – Inspector Angel – tossed back the rest of his
cranberry juice rather desperately. "I think I'll go home now." He
wiped his reddened mouth and added, "Alone."
Danny shrugged. "Right, then. I'll get my coat."
"No, I meant..."
It was pointless to argue.
And it felt good, walking down the lane with Danny at his side again.
Talking about nothing, laughing, feeling their arms brush as they
stumbled into each other, both slightly off-balance from drink. Or...
well, cranberry juice didn't make you stumble. He tried not to think
He wasn't sure how Danny had talked him into coming upstairs, but,
christ, he couldn't avoid his own partner forever. Not and stay in
Sandford. He had to learn to handle this – this. In a spirit of
taking the bull by the horns, he accepted a drink (beer this time), sat
down on the sofa with Danny's arm pressed to his, and agreed to watch The Fast and the Furious.
Once he could have sat through the entire sweaty spectacle with near
equanimity. Now, every other scene made him clear his throat and become
intensely conscious of the exact distance between his right knee and
Danny's left. When Paul Walker handed over his keys to Vin Diesel,
sudden memory flashed up to overtake him, and he clutched the cold
glass bottle and hoped Danny wouldn't notice that his normally pale
face had turned a deep and pervasive pink. Still, he made it through
the rest of the film without incident, and, having dispatched two more
beers in succession, agreed to stay for a viewing of Lethal Weapon.
It was well past midnight by the time the final climax approached, and
they were both clumsy and emotional. Danny raced to the kitchen for
another beer and, in trying to watch the screen, pop the top off, and
sit down all at the same time, fumbled the bottle. They both snatched
at it and after some frantic juggling got it safely settled on the end
table without spillage. After a rudimentary high five, they went back
to watching Mel Gibson and Danny Glover perform their unorthodox
interpretation of law enforcement. Gibson, of course, was shirtless.
Danny said, "Would you hold me like that if I were shot?"
"I believe I did," Nicholas said simply.
A warm, happy look chased itself tentatively around Danny's face before
settling in. "You did, didn't you?" He stopped mouthing "I've got you"
and switched to "Hold on... hold on... it'll be fine..."
Nicholas felt a sense of comfort come over him, of peace and rightness.
When all was said and done, they were partners. He glanced over at
Danny and saw him about to set the beer down on the table again, too
fast. Too fast! Time seemed to go in slow motion as Nicholas mouthed No!
and then the base of the bottle hit the table, and VOOM, beer
foamed up, exploding skyward above the precious pile of open DVD cases.
Danny cried out in horror and staggered away from the sofa as Nicholas
vaulted to the rescue.
"Towel," he snapped, sending the DVDs spinning onto the safety of the
cushions with a swipe of his hand.
"Vest," Danny responded from the far side of some boxes, tossing it to
him. Nicholas caught the soft garment and raised an eyebrow. "Laundry's
closer than the kitchen."
"Good man." Whipping the undershirt around the foaming bottle several
times without losing a drop, he barked, "Bin!" only to find it was
already rolling to him. He chucked the threatening bundle in the
wastepaper basket with dispatch and they watched it wobble, safely
contained. Bringing his sleeve across the surface of the end table, he
found that it was dry. The DVDs – and the glossy finish –
They collapsed back onto the sofa, heaving sighs of relief. Turning to
each other, drawn by matching triumph, their eyes caught. Nicholas
could feel Danny's breath on his face, see himself reflected in the
younger man's pupils. The moment stretched.
"Danny," Nicholas said reluctantly, "am I a bad influence on you?"
"Huh? Fuck no! That would have taken me weeks to clean up, in the old
"That's not really what I..." Danny's eyes were so... He was so...
intense. Worshipful, even. Nicholas swallowed. He had never been very
important to anyone, even Jeanine. He felt a not entirely unpleasant
vertigo, as if he were standing at the top of the high dive. "Look,
I'm... I'm completely out of my depth, here." His voice sounded weak,
strange. "I've often thought in the past, well, that is, not often, but
from time to time. That it might be a possibility. However it's never
been convenient or seemed particularly advisable and well, frankly, I
tend to prefer an emotional commitment in my relationships and I hadn't
ever run across that special someone, and work keeps me fairly busy and
so with one thing and another, it never came up before – here.
Before Sandford. So I don't actually know."
Danny was still panting, studying his face. Nicholas swallowed and
finished baring his soul. "I'm an amateur, Danny, and I hate that. I've
always wanted to be good at what I do, and this is an area where I'm
entirely at sea." His voice cracked again, just a minor squeak, but
he'd reached the point where further embarrassment was almost
meaningless. "Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?"
Nicholas bit his lip and tried to think of a way to phrase it more
clearly without having to kill himself afterward.
"Just kidding. I got it!" Danny said, laughing excitedly. Then he
grabbed Nicholas' shirt front with both hands and yanked him over to plant
an enthusiastic, but not unskillful, kiss on his mouth. Nicholas found
himself off balance and slipping forward, and had to straighten
up and regain his spot on the cushions when Danny released him. Around
the overwhelming reverberation of tenderness and shock and shortness of
breath he managed to say, "I thought you didn't do much with those
girlfriends of yours."
"Oh, I didn't. But me and my best mate Ned, now, we spent a fair amount
of time back of the barn on Saturdays."
"Yeah, just playing about, like you do. He moved away, oh, five years
back? His wife said she didn't like the atmosphere. Bit claustrophobic,
she said. Don't know what she means, best air in six counties. Can I
kiss you again?"
Nicholas found some inner calm had taken over, the kind that could
operate even when the rest of him was light and shaking from
adrenaline. "Actually, I think it's my turn," he said. Bending forward
with steely courage, he tilted his head and found himself giving Danny
a kind of kiss he had never given Jeanine, or his peace lily.
A good thirty seconds later, he leaned back. Danny made a meaningless
"Not too much of a cold fish?" Nicholas said.
"Are you mad?" Danny said. "That was like... it's like I got hit in the
chest with a wrecking ball and tiny little bluebirds flew out
"And that's – good," Nicholas said, beginning to smile.
"It's fucking amazing," Danny said.
Nicholas found he was still holding onto Danny's collar. He gave it a
shake and said hoarsely, "Then I don't want to hear any more about your
"And what about fraternization?"
"What? Oh. Well, I suppose we..." He trailed off.
"You forgot, didn't you?"
The blush started again, not as painful, but almost as pink. He felt it
go out to the tips of his ears.
Danny said with pride, "Why, Nicholas Angel, I do believe you've
switched off at last."
In for a penny, in for a pound. "Actually," Nicholas confessed, both
embarrassed and vaguely proud of himself, "I'm afraid I'm getting
rather switched on."
Banter! Danny lit up with delight. "Not such an angel after all, are
They chuckled together. "Feeling a bit of a devil really," Nicholas
said, aware that he sounded like a complete prat, but willing to do his
part for tradition.
Danny slapped at his arm. "Might as well call you Old Nick?" That one
suffered a failure to launch, and Danny and he slowed down and
considered, Danny tentative verging on anxious. "Because – devil
and – age difference?"
"Erm... I don't like that one so much."
"Okay, go back to..."
"Go back to the one about not being such an angel."
"Yeah. Yeah. Right." Danny rearranged his face to the original laugh
and they resumed where they'd left off, hands gripping each other's
shirts, chuckling stupidly and leaning into each other until their
foreheads touched, and their knees, and then. Then they might possibly
have been kissing again, tentative and astonished and eager, as the
rain poured down harder outside, the music got triumphantly louder,
and, on the television, credits rolled.