Title: The Ranks of the Freaks: Just Wait
Author: sandersyager
Fandom: CSI: NY
Pairing/character: Don Flack/Danny Messer, pre-slash; mentions of Danny Messer/Lindsay Monroe, Don Flack/OMC
Rating: FRM
Word Count: 1,743
Prompt: Flack’s sick of the way Lindsay treats Danny and the way she acts like she owns him. So, he decides to do something about it.
Kink: jealousy, confessions
Notes/Warnings: Vague spoilers through season five. blueraccoon was gracious enough to let me borrow her character, Christian Godfrey, for this. She also served as the first reader, beta, inspirational internet wife goddess in the birthing of this story. The Ranks of the Freaks is the universe spawned from this little ficlet. The follow up fic, Wait Till You See Him follows this story.

"I can't do this anymore, man," Danny says, fumbling his keys as he tries to let them into his apartment. "The girl's driving me fucking crazy, you know what I mean, Don? Hot and cold and half the time—no, all of the time, I don't even know what I'm doing wrong." He finally gets the door open and goes straight for the fridge, still talking. "I don't even know why I keep trying, why I keep going back. I guess it's 'cause I love her. I can't help it. You listening to me, Flack?"

"No, I'm taking a piss," Don calls back through the bathroom door. He hasn't been listening since four stops back on the subway when Danny started bitching and moaning about Monroe. "Shut up about Lindsay, already. Guys' night out and all that, remember? Besides, I'm not your therapist." He zips up and turns on the taps to wash his hands, drowning out any reply from Danny.

There's a beer waiting for him on the counter, matching the one dangling loosely between Danny's fingers while he stares at the microwave. Don picks it up and takes a drink, wonders when Danny switched over to his brand and decides it doesn't matter.

"You know, Messer, if you got so many problems with her, maybe it's just not worth it," he says, picking at the edge of the label on his bottle. "And glaring at the oven won't make it go any faster."

Danny shrugs, tee shirt pulling across his shoulders. "What do you know? You date socialites with bigger boobs than IQ's and two weeks is a record for you."

"What can I say? I'm shallow." Don knows he's not the brightest guy out there, but he's good looking, and finding somebody who fits the same bill just isn't that hard. It's clean, uncomplicated, and the sex is fantastic. He's shallow and simple. "Maybe I'm just playing the field until Ms. or Mr. Right comes along. No point in going through all this drama every time. That's your thing."

"How do you know if---wait." Danny turns around, eyes wide behind his glasses. "Mister? You saying you decided to try and play for both teams?"

Don shrugs, taking a swig of beer like his heart's not hammering over that not-so-accidental slip. "Something like that, yeah," he says, watching Danny's bowl revolve on the microwave tray. Something exactly like that. "That a problem for you?"

"Nah. No," Danny says firmly. "It's just... we been friends for how long now? How come you never said anything?"

"Never had a reason to," Don says. "Still don't, really, but at least we're not talking about Monroe anymore."

"No, we're not," Danny says, running a hand through his hair. It doesn't help and Don wants to tell him to get it cut, again, but that's as useful as telling him to stop fooling around with Lindsay. "So, were you just planning to blurt it out like that? Make it one of those non—non sequiturs to get me to change the subject?"

"Don't use big words outside of the lab, Messer. You'll break your brain," Don says. "I wasn't planning anything. That's not the kinda thing you just..."

"But you just did," Danny points out, opening one of the cabinets and rummaging through it until he comes up with a bag of tortilla chips. "You want anything besides chips and salsa, we're gonna have to call out."

"Later," Don says, looking at the clock. "Game's about to start."

* * *

Don's not stupid, not by any stretch. He's just not the same kind of smart as Danny and the rest, and maybe that's why Danny seems to think Don won't notice him staring at him instead of the TV for minutes at a time. It's a lousy game anyway, so he turns to stare back at Danny.

"What?" he asks. "You got something you want to say, so say it, Messer."

Danny doesn't even look caught out, he just shrugs in a quick hitch of shoulders and pushes his glasses up his nose. "How'd you know? I mean about liking guys or whatever."

"Why's that always the first question?" Don asks, looking up at the ceiling and knowing the answer isn't written there anymore than it is in the bottom of his beer. "Same way I knew about girls. Looked at some of 'em, got wood, kept happening."

"Sorry I asked," Danny says, crossing his arms over his chest and slumping back against the couch. "Just forget I did, okay?"

"Whatever," Don says with a shrug, turning back to the game. It takes another five minutes before he feels Danny looking at him again. "If you're going to keep doing that, I'm going home."

"No, you're not," Danny says. "For one thing, the game ain't over. For another, I'm getting ready to order dinner and you never leave before the food gets here." He pushes himself to his feet, crossing in front of Don and ruffling his hair, ducking away when Don swats at him.

"You're an asshole, Messer," Don grumbles, sprawling back against the couch.

"Yeah and you love me anyway," Danny says. "Let me ask you something else. You ever think about me that way?"

Don snorts, twisting to look at Danny. "You mean 'in a gay way'? What's with you straight guys and that being the first question?" he asks.

"You do!" Danny crows, grinning for the first time since they left work. "I mean, how could you not? Look at me, I'm perfect."

"Yeah, perfectly fucked up," Don says, smiling in spite of himself. Danny's about as far from perfect as Beijing is from Manhattan, even with that cocky glint in his eyes. As long as he remembers that, he's good. "I don't waste time wanting what I can't have. Besides, I'd treat you too good and you wouldn't know how to act."

"Probably wouldn't," Danny says, opening and closing one drawer and then another. "I thought about it, you know, once or twice. Course Aiden told me you were both way outta my league and to forget about it." He turns away so Don can't see his face, only the way his back tenses and his head tilts up. "I still miss her, you know?"

* * *

"So who was the first?" Danny asks when they've had a couple more beers apiece and sat down with enough cartons of Chinese food for five people.

"The first guy I was with?" Don looks at him over his container of chicken and broccoli and Danny nods. "A friend of my sister's, Karen, not Liz. I was seventeen, he was a student at Juilliard."

"Let me guess," Danny says. "He was older, artsy, kind of scruffy."

Don shakes his head, grinning. "Try sixteen, blond, British, insanely talented," he says, slightly emphasizing the last two words. It's worth it just to watch Danny nearly choke on his fried rice, but it's true. Last Don heard, Christian had been nominated for a Grammy or two and was leaving on a world tour with his band.

"Were you—were you in love with him?" Danny asks.

"I was seventeen," Don says again. "I thought I could have been." In his more honest moments, he still thinks maybe he was. It just doesn't matter.

"It's hard to know, isn't it?" Danny sets his plate down on the table, arms resting on his knees. "I bet he was in love with you. You're the kind of guy—the kind of person to fall in love with. You wouldn't play games, you'd just be there when you were supposed to be and know what to do."

They're not talking about Don anymore, Danny's talking about Lindsay. Doesn't take a degree in psychology to figure that one out, and Don sighs, leaning back against the couch and picking through the broccoli in search of more chicken.

"Don't go back to her, Danny," Don says, deciding he's not really that hungry anymore and he's had all the green veggies he can take for the day. He snags a fortune cookie instead, cracking it open while he looks at Danny. "Either don't go back or go back and make it work, but stop letting her jerk you around. Stop jerking her around."

"Is that what you think I'm doing?"

"You gonna tell me you're not?" Don glances at the slip of paper in his hand and snorts, handing it to Danny. "There you go. Even the cookie agrees with me."

Danny squints at the message and Don sees the punch coming in time to stop Danny's fist from making contact with his shoulder. "'Feeding a cow with roses does not get extra appreciation,'" he reads aloud. "Sounds about right. You know I sent her flowers and she told the delivery guy to take 'em back?"

"You know I don't care?" Don says, more focused on the way Danny's hand turns and opens in his, wrapping their fingers together. "Dan, what're you doing?"

"You think I know?" Danny moves a little closer and he doesn't let go. Don doesn't let go and he should. He ought to be moving away, standing up, doing anything but watching Danny's face cycle through nervous, hopeful, sad and back to nervous in a way that should be comical. "I never fucking know. Isn't that what you keep telling me?"

"I know you don't wanna do this," Don says. He can't say he doesn't want it, hasn't thought about it, but he knows Danny too well and he knows this isn't about him at all.

"How do you know? I told you, I thought about it before," Danny says. "Thought about you, that way. You're not—you're a good guy, a good person."

"And you got a girlfriend," Don says, finally pulling his hand away and putting some space between them. "You stop chasing after her, stop jumping through all her hoops and get your shit together, maybe we can do this. Not now, though."

Danny sits back, blowing out a breath. "You're right. I know you're right," he says. "Not now. I'm sorry."

"Yeah, me, too," Don says. The funny thing is, it's true. If things were different... things might be different.

"There's a—a Lethal Weapon marathon on later tonight," Danny says after a few minutes. "You wanna stay and watch it?"

"Depends," Don says, cracking a smile. "How much beer you got left?"