Fair Trade
by Synchronik (as Charlemagne)

No money, no rights, just good clean fun. Well . . . not really clean. This is for the bunnies who gave me the idea. And Helen, the head bunny.

Really, he found out about it by mistake, which was strange considering that Casey was his best friend and there wasn't too much about him Dan didn't already know. Of course, Dan supposed, this wasn't really about Casey, per se. More like him and Casey. A whole different ballgame. Okay, maybe a whole different inning in the same ballgame. But Dan still found out by mistake.

He was sneaking up on Natalie and Kim, who were standing by the catering table, talking. Natalie seemed to be in charge of the conversation; her head bobbed emphatically, trying to convince Kim with its urgency.

Dan's original idea had been to go get a sandwich. One with pickles on it. And cheese. But then he saw Natalie and Kim and another idea popped into his head: pinch them on the butt. That idea was quickly discarded. Natalie, who had pushed herself into his heart, would take it in the spirit it was meant and probably slug him. Kim, though, her status was more uncertain. She might really be offended, and if he offended her, then Dan was pretty sure she would stop leaning in toward him when she talked, and she would definitely stop smiling at him so much, and he liked both of those things. He also would have liked to feel the smooth round contour of her ass in his hand, but it hardly seemed like a fair trade-off.

But the no-pinching decision did not preclude sneaking up behind them and scaring the hell out of them by grabbing them around the waists, so that became the plan.

He was well on his way to plan execution, sidling along the wall that ended right before the catering table, completely out of sight, when he heard Kim say his name.

"Dan is gay," Kim said. Dan felt his heart stop. When it started up again, Natalie was talking.

"--not saying that he's gay, really. All I'm saying is that he and Casey spend a lot of time together and they come in sometimes looking a little disheveled."

"That's from racquetball!" Dan whispered, outraged.

"I thought they played racquetball," Kim said. Dan resolved to ask her to marry him as soon as possible. Sure the sex ploy hadn't worked out, but maybe she was holding out for something permanent.

"It could be from racquetball," Natalie said. "But if it weren't?"

"You mean, hypothetically?" Kim sounded interested.

"Hypothetically." Dan couldn't see her but he knew Natalie was nodding her head, swinging her hair back and forth for emphasis.

"Hmm . . ." Kim said. "Hypothetically, that could be interesting." Dan glared at the wall. If she thought he'd propose now, she had another think coming.

"What about in the elevator?" Natalie said. "Right before work."

"I could see it. Dan's a risk-taker. He'd like--"

"Hey, Danny," Casey said.

"Shh!" Dan grabbed his arm, yanking him up to the wall.

"What the hell, Da--"

"Shh!" Dan yanked on his arm again and pointed to the wall. Casey, always willing to go along at least at first, shushed.

"--Casey, though. He seems a little uptight," Kim said.

"Hey!" Casey whispered in protest.

"Are you kidding? I bet all Casey would take was a little convincing."

"Well, Dan's convincing all right," Kim admitted. "He almost had me a couple of times."

"So they're in the elevator," Natalie said. "And Dan crowds him against the back corner."

"Does he resist at first?"

"Maybe," Natalie said. "But Dan has his arms on those banister-thingies- -"

"Is she talking about what I think she's talking about?" Casey whispered.

Dan nodded.

"Shouldn't we do something about this?" Casey pointed to the wall. "Shouldn't we interrupt?"

Danny shook his head. "Research."


"We find out what they want, their fantasies, and then we can oblige them."

"I'm not making out with you in an ele--"


"Kim's never going to sleep with--"

"Shut up, Casey!"

"--he takes a little persuading," Natalie was saying, "but Dan's leaning up, kissing his neck--"

"Casey's shirt's undone, right? The top few buttons."

"He's wearing a Henley," Natalie said, and both women groaned in the way women do when an idea turns them on.

Casey, who was wearing a Henley, a forest green one that made him look bigger through the chest than he actually was, tipped his forehead against the wall. Smirking, Dan patted his shoulder.

"What's Dan wearing?" Kim asked.

"That white sweater, the longer one."

Dan sighed. Of course he would have picked today to wear some ratty old sweatshirt. He had no luck with women.

"Love that sweater," Kim said.

"You know what I love," Natalie said. "Dan's mouth. I mean, normally he just uses it for annoying things, like talking, but when he doesn't . . . I'm completely head over heels for Jeremy, but there's something about Dan's mouth, especially when he's upset. You just want to kiss him and make him better."

"Casey's hands," Kim said. "He played piano, I bet, or flute or something. His hands are amazing."

"Flute!" Casey hissed at him, outraged. Dan waved him silent.

"So they're in the elevator, and Casey's shirt's open at the neck--"

"And his head's back," Natalie interjected, "and Danny's kissing his neck and grabbing his ass."

"And Casey's hands are on his shoulders, and he grabs Dan by the chin and forces his face up--"

"That's it!" Casey whispered, and stepped around Dan, and out from behind the wall.

"Hey Kim, Natalie," he said. Dan followed, trying to look innocent. The women stood still like deer,frozen for a moment before they dissolved in laughter.

"Hi!" Kim said, hunching over with giggles. Her eyes were tearing up, Dan noticed.

"Are you okay?" he asked. He leaned over and rubbed her arm. Casey was pouring a cup of coffee, Dan noticed, and doing an admirable job of looking mildly concerned.

"We're fine!" Natalie gasped, smiling brightly through her laughter. She had smudged her mascara by wiping the tears from under her eyes.

"Good, good," Casey said.

"We've got to go," Kim said, grabbing Natalie by the arm and tugging her away. When they got around the corner, Dan heard a fresh burst of laughter.

He picked up a sandwich and looked at Casey, who was sipping out of the Styrofoam coffee cup.

"Nice shirt," Dan said.

"Nice mouth," Casey said.

"Research," Dan said. Casey just nodded, and followed Dan back to the office.

Nothing happened after that. Kim still didn't sleep with him, although he tried wearing the white sweater and being upset in her vicinity on the same day. She did pat his shoulder, but then Dana needed her to do something (she really wasn't his secretary, Dan realized, but some sort of important production assistant person) and she hadn't come by later to check on him or anything. So much for the research.

Then Casey started seeing some women from the third floor who he met at Anthony's one night, and Dan ended up riding up in the elevator with them one morning.

"Hey Case," he said. "Hey Angela."

"Hi Danny!" Angela was a very nice woman, a very sweet woman, a very attractive woman but she and Casey weren't going to last. Danny knew that because Angela always hugged him whenever she saw him, big hugs, with bounce.

It was part of being in such a visible partnership, Dan thought. Women assumed that when they got Casey, he came with, and vice-versa. That was part of the attraction, the remote chance that the best friend would suddenly climb into bed and you would have not one but two famous and attractive sportscasters at once. It was the kind of thing that made men go out with twins. That had been one of the things he had liked about Rebecca: she was never too happy to see Casey.

"Did you ever think about doing it in an elevator?" Angela asked, curling into Casey's side.

Danny kept his eyes firmly on the digital numbers, willing them to move.

"Um--" Casey said, and didn't have to say anything else because they were at her floor, and she had to kiss him and wave goodbye to Danny all before the elevator door closed.

"Nice girl," Dan said.

"Hmm," Casey said, and met Danny's eyes in the mirrored wall. "Nice sweater."

There were dreams then, dreams that started out with Kim or Jenny or any of a number of other women, but always ended up with Casey sliding his long fingers under Dan's sweater and Dan gasping and coming in his pants from that simple touch. They flustered him, the dreams, but he wasn't sure he wanted them to stop.

Casey still came over and watched t.v. with him, and they still went out for drinks, and Dan still propositioned women who still generally turned him down, but now when they declined, smiling and gracious, he felt relief, as if he had done his duty and now could go back and sit next to Casey at the table and really have a good time. It wasn't a dry spell if you didn't want to get wet.

And then Dan sprained his ankle at the softball game between Sports Night and West Coast Update. Despite the fact that they were on at two in the morning and didn't usually roll into work until five o'clock in the afternoon, WCU had no problems getting their act together for the annual two o'clock barbeque and softball game. Dan's team, coached by a satisfied Isaac (his wife had made the barbeque, and Dan thought it might have been that barbeque alone that had seduced Isaac into matrimony many years before), and a hyperactive Dana, who kept yelling "slide, slide!" when there was no reason to slide, were down by one in the ninth.

Dan was on third, Chris was on second, and Natalie was up. Two outs, two fouls, no balls.

Natalie swung, and the sound of the ball hitting the bat was a distant "thunk" in Dan's mind as he took off. In the corner of his mind, he knew that ball had been handled by the shortstop, Jerry Something, and was winging its way past him to the plate. He didn't hear Dana, but he heard it in the back of his head--"slide, slide"--so he did, feet first, and there was a "ping" in his ankle, and then sudden and overwhelming pain.

It was a pretty bad sprain, after all. The doctor put a pressure wrap on it and told him to stay off of it for a week or so, and gave him two days of real painkillers before sending him home. He hobbled out of the hospital on crutches, and Casey hovered over him, making him feel like some kind of baby stork.

"You feel okay?" he asked, once Dan had clambered into the car, almost poking himself in the head with the unfamiliar crutch.

"I'll feel better once I get to take some of these," he said, shaking the bottle with his pills. "We won, didn't we?"

Casey shook his head. "Dana negotiated a rematch when you're off the injured list. She didn't want to take advantage of your injury and have a cloud on our victory."

"Well, that's nice of her." Dan snorted. "Next time I'll break a leg."

He got up to his apartment, Casey walking behind him with his hands out, as if Dan was doing some sort of trapeze act instead of just hobbling along the floor. Dan headed to the bedroom and stripped, pulling on clean underwear and a t-shirt, and Casey came in with a glass of water, and a towel full of ice.

"Lie down," Casey said.

Dan piled his pillows up and sat up against the headboard of the bed. Casey took one of the extra pillows and waited for Dan to lift his foot. He arranged the pillow and the ice pack while Dan took his pills with the glass of water.

"What are you going to do?" Dan asked, when the pills and ice and the pillows had been taken care of.

"Thought I'd watch the game," Casey said, standing by the side of the bed.

"I have beer in the fridge," Dan said.

"Okay. You want pizza?"


Casey went to order pizza and Dan leaned over and grabbed the remote from the nightstand. Him and Casey eating pizza, watching the game. It was just any other Saturday afternoon. His stomach was probably only doing flipflops because of the adrenaline and the painkillers, that was all.

The pizza was his favorite, thin crust with pepperoni and black olives, but he could only eat two slices before the painkillers really kicked in. Casey got up to take the box into the kitchen, and when he came back he sat next to Dan, propped up again the low headboard with one arm stretched along the back. Casey always sat like that, spread out, taking up space, and when they had first met each other Casey's arm had freaked Dan out a little. Gradually, though, he realized that Casey wasn't going to toy with the hair at the back of his neck, or curl his arm around Dan's shoulders, and he began to relax. This was, Dan realized suddenly, probably one of the reasons why people thought he and Casey were . . . together.

The phone rang, and Casey got up to answer it. Dan could hear his voice in the living room over the television.

"--fine. A little loopy on drugs, but fine. . . . Yeah, he ate. . . . I'll tell him you said, Isaac. . . . Yeah, he's great. Bye."

"That was Isaac," Casey said. "He says there's nothing nobler than taking one for the team."

Dan rolled his eyes, and felt the room spin a little. "Isaac is generous of spirit," he said, but his mouth felt funny and he thought it might have come out "generous of spit." Casey nodded. He sat back down on the bed, arm outstretched along the headboard, and Dan found himself tipping toward Casey's weight, head sliding along Casey's arm until it came to rest in the hollow between Casey's shoulder and his chest. He smelled good, like sweat and fabric softener, and the gray t-shirt was thin and warm under his cheek. Dan could feel Casey's heart beat.

Casey didn't say anything. Eventually, he brought his hand up, and Danny felt it ruffle through his hair, once, twice, and then he was asleep.

He woke up in a panic, feeling the bed shift as Casey got up. There was noise in the bathroom, the toilet, the sound of the faucet running, and Casey was back, leaning over the bed. He wouldn't stay, Danny thought. He would pull the bedspread up around Dan's shoulders and leave. Dan fought the urge to reach out and grab his arm.

Casey leaned in close--Dan could feel Casey's breath on his ear--then pulled the bedspread up over Dan's shoulder. Dan felt the bed shift with Casey's weight again, and he was being pulled, tugged gently against Casey's chest, one of Casey's fine hands slipping through his hair.

He sighed and sagged bonelessly against Casey's body.

The pain woke him up next time, a dull throb in his ankle that beat in time with his pulse and lured him up out of heavy dreams. Casey was snug behind him, stomach pressed against his back, thighs up against his ass, one of Casey's arms curved low and tight around his abdomen. Casey was asleep, too, breathing on the back on his neck.

Dan moved a little, experimentally, but he couldn't reach the pain pills-- they were on Casey's side of the bed--and his movement brought Casey up out of sleep.

"You need something?" he asked, voice groggy.

"My ankle hurts," Dan said. He hoped he didn't sound like a whiner.

"Okay." Casey handed him the pills, and stood up, stretching. "I'll get you some water."

A moment later he was back with the glass, towering over the bed while Dan swallowed. He took it back and drank the rest.

"You don't have to stay," Dan said, because he had to.

"Yeah," Casey said. He set the glass down on the table. "Turn over." He pointed to the opposite wall. Dan turned, and Casey slid in behind him, his arm going again around Danny's waist. "If you don't mind," he said, his voice brushing Danny's ear.

"I don't mind," Dan said. He wasn't sure what it was that he didn't mind, but Casey apparently had something particular in mind, because his lips moved over the back of Dan's neck, fogging him with hot breath. Dan shifted uneasily, feeling himself harden.

"Casey," he murmured.

"Tell me you don't like it, and I'll stop," Casey whispered, right in his ear, pressing his body against Danny's back.

"No, I . . . it's okay." Dan gasped as Casey's hand slid up under his t- shirt.

"Yeah?" Casey asked. His hand was drawing patterns on Danny's stomach, light fluttering patterns that kept getting closer and closer to the waistband of his boxer shorts.

"I, uh," Dan said. Casey's hand slid under the waistband, and ran lightly over Dan's cock. "Casey!" he said, arching his back. His ankle didn't hurt at all, suddenly.

"Feel better?" Casey's voice rumbled in his ear. Shit, Kim and Natalie were wrong. Casey didn't need convincing at all. Casey was already per- -

Casey's hand closed around his cock and stroked.

"Casey," Dan gasped. There were other things he could think of to say, but they all seemed wildly inappropriate, like "fuck me" or "I love you" or "never leave." Things you didn't say right away unless you never wanted to see the person again.

Casey didn't answer, but his hand sped up a little, and that was unbearably erotic, seeing Casey's hand disappear down the front of his shorts, curling in the dark pubic hair, moving under his clothes.

"Casey, you'll, stop . . . you'll make me . . ." His hips were moving in rhythm now, helpless. His whole body tingled.

Casey's laugh in his ear was low and enticing. "That's the whole point, Danny," he murmured, and turned Dan onto his back, hand still moving.

"Casey," Danny said, again, and that was all he had time for before Casey's tongue was in his mouth and Casey's hand jerked on his cock and he was coming.

There was movement after that, there must have been, because when he woke up the next morning, the t.v. was off, and his shorts were off, and he and Casey were under the sheets instead of on top of them, and Casey himself was naked, sprawled over half of the bed, not touching him except for one hand on him arm. Danny stretched and Casey opened his eyes.

"Hey," Danny said. Casey looked at him, and he had to look away at the wall beyond Casey's head, because what did you say, really, to your best friend who had jerked you off and who you might be in love with.

Casey watched him for a second. "Natalie's right," he said, finally.


"When you get upset, your mouth gets very . . . it changes."

"I'm not upset."

"Uh huh," Casey said. "Let's see." He scooted over, sliding his arms around Dan's neck and pressing his mouth to Dan's. Dan jerked away.

"I probably have morning breath," he said, quickly, turning his head.

"I love you," Casey said, pressing himself close, kissing Danny's neck.

"Kim was wrong," Dan said, relenting, allowing himself to breathe, to feel Casey's arms around his neck as real instead of a fleeting fantasy.

"Hmm?" Casey kissed his jaw.

"You don't need convincing at all. You're a slut."

"You're going to have to give up your Kim fantasy, you know."

"What?" Dan tipped his head back, feeling Casey's lips on his throat. He spread his legs so Casey could slip one thigh between them. "I guess," he said. "One condition."

"Name it," Casey said, rolling him over onto his back. He braced himself up on his arms and looked down into Dan's face. Dan thought it was perhaps the best thing he'd ever seen first thing in the morning. He smiled.

"Ever think about doing it in an elevator?"


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