Long Shot

by Kass


Hot Fuzz is one of the most delightfully slashy movies I've ever seen. I couldn't resist writing a little post-movie story. These pictures provided ample inspiration...

Deep thanks are due to Sihaha Black, who not only catches my overuse of adverbs but is brilliant at excising my Americanisms from Brit-fandom fic. Mwah!

The boys are theirs, the words are mine. This is news?

If this isn't happily-ever-after, Nick thinks, it's damned close.

Days click by like slides in a slideshow. Click: Nick's on his early-morning run, everyone in town greeting him as he jogs past. Click: he's doing paperwork at the station, keeping his records tidy. One never knows when something wild is going to come along’—a bus full of inebriated circus performers, say, or teenagers spraypainting slogans on the local cows. Stranger things have happened in Sanford, and now that he's been promoted to inspector, he feels even more responsible for the town he's come to love.

Click: he and Danny patrol, of course, and occasionally the radio crackles to life sending them on some wild goose chase or another. Most often these don't involve actual geese, though from time to time’—well, the odd animal search-and-rescue keeps them in good trim.

Click: come evening, they have a pint or three at the pub, or settle in to watch a film. Lately Nick's been teaching Danny how to cook’—an essential bachelor skill; one can't subsist forever on curry and takeaway’—which often as not means dinner at Nick's cottage, because he has the better kitchen. They work their way through the entire Jackie Chan oeuvre, even the ones subtitled in pidgin English with letters too small to comfortably read.

That's how the weeks go by, and the months, and eventually the first year. One morning they meet at the cemetery to lay flowers on Danny's mum's grave before work. Danny blinks and turns away but he doesn't say anything about it. Nick gives him a hug, because that's what you do when you're visiting your best buddy's mother's grave. He'll always remember that day as the first day he went with Danny to the cemetery, he thinks, and the thought warms him inside.

Except he won't, because the cemetery visit turns out not to be the most notable part of the day. Not by a long shot.

In the afternoon Nick nips out to get plant food; his new Japanese lily is thriving and he wants to keep it happy. When he comes back to work, he realizes the incriminating spanner he used to catch the mechanic who bludgeoned Lucy's prize tulips into smithereens is still on his desk. He's taking it to the evidence lockup, whistling a jaunty tune, when he hears the sound of Danny's voice. He can't make out the words, but the tone is agitated, and it gives him pause.

He ought to turn around and come back later, or else make a racket so Danny knows he's there, but for some reason he doesn't. He creeps closer and crouches to listen, and the next thing he hears is Doris.

"You don't need to hide it," Doris says, sounding less brassy and more kind than usual. "Everyone knows, you know."

"You could keep pretending you don't, then," and it's clear Danny's been crying. Because it's the anniversary of his mum's death, of course, and Nick's heart goes out to him. He sounds distraught, and it's all Nick can do to keep himself from rushing in to offer comfort.

"It's obvious you're sweet on him," Doris says.

Nick revises his theory hastily; nothing to do with the late Mrs. Butterman, then. Who on earth is Danny sweet on, and why didn't Nick know about it? Somehow he misses the little matter of the pronoun, though when he replays the conversation later in his mind it will be all he can think about. "I think you should say something," Doris adds.

"No!" Danny's shout bespeaks misery. Nick hates himself for eavesdropping like a coward, but he doesn't stop. "I can't do that. You don't understand."

"I've half a mind to tell him myself."

"Oh, God, please don't, you can't." He sounds panicked now, and again Nick has to stifle the urge to run in there and get to the bottom of this’—whatever it is. What can't Danny tell’—whom? Who on earth is Danny sweet on? Nick's head is spinning. "He doesn't feel the same way, he'd be all’—stiff and formal and apologetic-like, and then he'd find some reason to transfer back to London."

The last word is almost a sob, and it hits Nick like a ceiling crashing down: they're talking about him.

"He wouldn't do that," Doris says, gently.

"I can't risk it." Danny blows his nose, loudly. "Look, this is a dangerous business we're in, police work’—I could lose him at any moment. I want as much time as I can get."

"Must be painful, being so close and not telling him how you feel, innit?"

"Hurts like hell," Danny admits. "But him leaving would hurt worse."

Nick hears moving about and he panics. As fast as he can he dashes back down the hallway, vaults over a desk, and is sitting in his usual place fiddling with a notepad by the time Doris and Danny appear in the doorway.

Danny's strangely subdued the rest of that day, and Nick doesn't have the faintest idea what to do about it. At day's end he doesn't ask whether Nick wants to come along to the pub, or see a film, just heads for home, alone. Nick leaves work on autopilot; he's home before he realizes he was even on the road.

If he hadn't overheard Danny's conversation with Doris, Nick might have imagined it was just...grief, maybe. Mourning. The loss of his mother had struck Danny hard, Nick knew that, and visiting her grave couldn't have been easy.

But knowing what he knows now...

Really he can't believe he didn't see it sooner. For a man who prides himself on his investigative skills and his powers of observation, how did he miss this? It's obvious. Danny's had a crush on him from the start. From those early days when Danny wanted to be a copper like Nick was a copper’—never mind that he already was, and that he's a kinder and gentler man than Nick could ever be.

This first year of their friendship replays now in his mind. Waking up with his head on Danny's shoulder, that first time they had too much to drink and settled in to watch action movies at Danny's place. A hundred late-night conversations, in the pub or in his cottage. The way the rest of the world recedes when he and Danny are talking, until it seems no one else exists at all. Danny pretending to pop out his own eyeball with a fork, squirting catsup between his fingers, then laughing with infectious glee. Danny rescuing him from Danny's own father, showing where his real loyalties lay.

Danny's in love with him. There's no other possibility that makes sense. Bugger it all to hell’—he's been leading Danny on without even realizing it. He'll have to find some way to let him down gently. He does't go for blokes, it's that simple. He can tell Danny that, Danny will understand --

He doesn't feel the same way, he'd be all’—stiff and formal and apologetic-like, and then he'd find some reason to transfer back to London.

The words reverberate in his memory like a gunshot. Danny knows him better than he knows himself, and he's right. Nick will be stiff and formal, he'll apologise for not fancying men, and nothing will be the same. They won't be the same.

Nick thinks of all of the ways that Danny is part of his life. Danny understands him. Danny looks up to him. Danny isn't jealous of Nick's attachment to his work, because his work is Danny's work, too’—and yet Danny gives him a reason to leave the station at the end of the day.

The prospect of losing all of these makes him sad and angry. For a glorious, satisfying moment he is furious at Danny for ruining everything... until he remembers that Danny didn't want him to know. That in fact it's his own fault he knows this at all.

Nick is swamped by a wave of misery. Grimly, he breaks his own rule about imbibing alone and pours himself a stiff drink. He hardly tastes the whisky going down.

The hour grows late, and Nick has grown drunker. He still doesn't have any answers for how to break things off with Danny, and his mind is still torturing him with memories. Danny surrounded by rubble, bleeding, and Nick helplessly begging him to hold on until the ambulance arrives --

The image morphs into bitter imaginings of how wrong things will be now. Nick can already see, in his mind's eye, how Danny's face will shutter’—how he will seem to shrink, his body language shifting. How Danny will insist that he doesn't mind, that he didn't have any right to ask it anyway. (Hurts like hell, he'd said, bravely. But him leaving would hurt worse.)

The ache in Nick's heart intensifies. They're perfect together. But damn it, Danny wants something he can't give. He's never once had a thought in that direction; he doesn't know how.

How to think of Danny's reassuring warmth beside him as a promise of things to come. To imagine the feel of his hands skimming Danny's sides, pushing him onto his back, undoing his trousers. The surprise and longing in Danny's eyes. How he would groan, unable to hold back, as his prick slid in and out of Nick's mouth.

The worshipful hunger Danny would show him’—like the awe he used to show about Nick's police work, but deeper, and more. Oh, God, deeper, and more’—the words send a frisson of anticipation through him. Would Danny want to fuck him? Nick shudders.

Slowly the realisation penetrates: he is lying on his own bed, eyes shut tight, with his hand down his underpants, thinking of his best mate. Who has maybe done the very same, thinking of him.

Now he's paralysed by a new fear. How has he lived his entire life without knowing this about himself? And what if he can't see it through, in the clutch?

The next morning he's too hung-over for a run. He drinks all the water he can stand, and manages an egg sandwich, though only barely.

He's nervous when he arrives at the station, but when Danny comes in it's as though the previous day had never happened. They're out on patrol and Danny says, "Want anything from the shop?" exactly as he's always done. But Nick's mind is elsewhere, and Danny has to reach over and shake his shoulder gently. "Hey," he says. "You want anything?"

Nick swallows hard and shakes his head no, and when Danny pops into the shop for an ice cream Nick gives himself a stern talking-to. This is no way to be, out on the streets; what if something were to happen?

But nothing does. The day drips by slowly, each minute taking far too long, and yet before he can blink everyone's stashing their gear in their lockers and heading out for the night.

"You want to go for a pint," Danny asks, looking concerned. "You seem a bit distracted today, might do you good." It doesn't even occur to him that Nick's hungover; apparently it isn't within the realm of possibility that Nick would have got pissed alone.

A beer does sound good’—and what's becoming of him, that he's so tempted to indulge cravings he used to believe he didn't have?’—but the thought of the people at the pub, everyone's eyes on him, makes him squirm. If he's really going to say anything about this --

Hastily he pushes that thought out of his mind before he can panic again. "How about a beer at your place? I'm not in the mood for the crowd." It's laughable that the pub regulars have become a crowd. When he first arrived from London it was the lack of people that got to him. He missed the hustle and bustle of city streets. But Sandford has come to seem normal, and now the odd weekend jaunt to the city feels a bit overwhelming. Not that he would admit it.

"Grand," Danny says. "I'll give you a lift, c'mon." And he does.

He has to say something before their third pint of the evening. He's promised himself that he will, because if they get any drunker than that he won't be able to make himself do it’—or he will and he'll say it all wrong. So the instant that third bottle hits the table in front of him, beaded cold with condensation, he takes a deep breath.

"We have to talk."

Danny pales, but sits obediently beside him, waiting. Suddenly the label on Nick's bottle of beer is the most interesting object in the room, and he can't stop worrying it.

"I don't know how to say this," Nick admits, finally. He thinks he must be shaking, though his hands appear steady.

"Whatever it is, you can tell me, you know that."

"How did you ’—" He has to clear his throat before he can continue. "How did you first know you were interested in blokes?"

A shadow passes over Danny's face, as though he's steeling himself for something he knows is going to hurt. "I dunno," he says, very quietly. "I just’—wanted to be around’—one’—all the time. Everything was better together than it had ever been, apart." He doesn't ask how Nick knows this, or for how long, and Nick is pathetically grateful for that. He doesn't think he could lie to Danny about it, but he doesn't want to admit that he was listening to a conversation he knows wasn't meant for his ears.

"Was there someone’—I mean, who was your first --?" He can feel his face heating up, but he ploughs on, helplessly.

Danny shakes his head once, his mouth tight. "I haven't."

Nick is surprised to feel the wash of relief that grips him when he hears those words’—and the possessiveness. No other man's hands have touched him, and that makes Nick achingly glad.

"I'm sorry." Danny's voice is almost inaudible. "You weren't supposed to know."

Nick snaps out of his reverie to the realisation that Danny isn't looking at him anymore. That Danny is stiff, as though preparing himself to be struck or cast away.

"Danny. Danny," Nick says, cursing his own ineptitude and desperate to make things right. He reaches out a tentative hand, and when he makes contact Danny's head whips up. The emotion in Danny's eyes is more than he can bear.

"I wish you'd told me," Nick says.

"Why? So you could have scarpered sooner?"

"So we wouldn't have wasted so much time." He's willing Danny to understand, but instead of the relief he's hoping for, he sees bafflement. He doesn't know how to say what he means in words.

The kiss is awkward at first, but he can feel the change when it comes. Danny's hands move to hold him steady, Danny's tongue licks at his mouth, and they establish their own rhythm. They know how to work together, how to trade control, and Nick is dazzled by how he wants, now that he's allowed himself to crave what he never realised he didn't think he could have.

When they pull apart, there's a bashful hunger in his friend's eyes. "You never said," Danny says, and there's wonderment in his voice.

"I'm an idiot," Nick admits, because it's true.

"Don't say that, I won't stand for it." The way Danny's looking at him makes him dizzy and giddy and desperate all at once.

"Can we argue about this later? I want to ’—" Nick flushes, because while he knows plenty of words for the thing he wants, it doesn't seem right to say them.

"Well, we are men of action, after all," Danny muses, with a glint of laughter in his voice.

"Action heroes," Nick agrees, and the smile they share feels incandescent, as if they've harnessed the power of the sun.

Nick's imaginings had focussed on what he wanted to do to Danny, but somehow he's lost control of the situation. He's lying on his back on Danny's bed, and Danny's mouth --

His groans would be embarrassing, but he can't be arsed to care. It's been far too long since he's been with anyone, and Janine hadn't seemed to like this much. Not like Danny. Nick will never be able to watch him relish an ice cream again without becoming painfully erect, as he is now. Oh, God, is he now.

Danny's big hand closes around him, and the combination of mouth and fingers is too good. Nick struggles to keep from going over the edge, but the tug of pleasure is stronger than he is, and with a moan he falls and falls and falls.

Danny climbs up the bed to lie beside him, and Nick gropes in the right direction. Danny's already hard, and he gasps at Nick's grip. Nick feels drunk on sensation and on sound. It doesn't take long to build up a rhythm, and his heart seems to stutter every time Danny thrusts up into his hand.

He varies the pace a little, letting his thumb stroke over the soft head, and Danny whimpers. The sound makes Nick's body burn with a heady mixture of longing and fierce pride. He wants to wring that sound from Danny again.

Wanking Danny and kissing him at the same time requires all the coordination Nick can muster, but it's well worth the effort. As he gets closer to orgasm, Danny's kiss is distracted and his whole body trembles. On a hunch Nick bites Danny's lip as his hand squeezes hard, and with another inarticulate whimper Danny convulses beneath him.

Nick feels unaccountably proud, and more than a little aroused again.

The next morning he's awake with the birds, and ten times more chipper than usual. He can't help it. Danny groans and pulls a pillow over his head, so Nick tiptoes out, wondering for a moment how to get himself home to change clothes without any of the town busybodies seeing him.

The point becomes moot when Lucretia Evans cycles by Danny's house, her bell ringing brightly. "Good morning, Inspector," she calls.

"Morning," Nick replies, and musters a sheepish smile.

Even without the neighborhood watch and their walkie-talkies, the news will be all over town by breakfast. Nick's lived in Sandford long enough to know that. So he shrugs, resigned to the boys taking the Mickey, and jogs toward the station. He can shower there, and there's always a change of clothes in his locker along with his hat and holster and badge.

On impulse, he stops at the garden shop on his way. It's not formally open, of course, but the door isn't locked. He picks up a bouquet of peonies and leaves a few pounds beside the register’—more than the flowers cost, more than likely, but he's feeling generous.

Given the smile he received from Danny at the cemetery when Nick turned up with a bouquet in hand’—was it only two days ago?’—he can't wait to see the look on Danny's face when the flowers are purely for him. He'll leave them on Danny's desk, and when Danny arrives he'll be sitting at his own desk, studiously doing paperwork but able to catch Danny's expression out of the corner of his eye...

"Morning, Inspector," chirps a schoolgirl on her way to class.

"Morning, Rosalie," he replies, aware that he's grinning ear to ear, and runs a little bit faster toward his future, which is almost here.

The End