[identity profile] puff-dannyocean.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] remix_redux
Title: Darkness Follows (Wages of Sin remix)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] phoebesmum
Summary: Casey has an exit strategy.
Fandom: Sports Night
Pairing: Casey McCall/Dan Rydell
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Sports Night and its characters were created by Aaron Sorkin and are copyright to ABC TV, Touchstone Television and Imagine Entertainment.
Original story: between one darkness and another by [livejournal.com profile] lordessrenegade.
Thanks are due to [livejournal.com profile] catwalksalone for beta duties above and beyond.


Darkness Follows (Wages of Sin Remix)

History repeats itself; we're doomed by character and circumstance to re-enact the same events over and over, following in our own footsteps, our words only echoes of earlier words grown cold and stale with use.

The first time Casey had fallen in love he'd known it from the start: it had been first sight, bolt from the blue, bullet to the heart, no two ways about it. But he'd been cautious, wary, played it safe: it had been years before he'd finally admitted (to himself, to anyone) that yes, this was the one, this was what and who he wanted. And, having admitted it, he reached out and took.

Less than six months after that, he'd realised that he'd been wrong: this wasn't what he wanted at all. But by that time it was too late.

How did he know he was wrong? Because he was in love again by then, truly in love this time, the real thing, no mistaking it: dizzying, dazzling, a yearning in his heart, a churning in his gut, a sweaty-palmed need that he knew could never be fulfilled. So he tucked away, buried it deep at the back of his mind, loaded it down with simpler words like 'friend' and 'colleague', left it to wither and die unacknowledged.

Only it didn't die. It wound and twined around his soul like bindweed, impossible to root out, impossible to kill; pallid and etiolate for lack of light, but persistent. More than a decade passed, years of both denial and self-denial, until the day came when he was free at last, when he finally found the courage to speak. And when he got the response he'd dreamed of but never dared hope for, he'd thought that this was it: this was happily ever after.

A year later, and he knew he was wrong. Again. Wrong, and with no way to set it right. Because the first time round it had been Lisa, and he'd married her with the full blessing and approval of his family and friends, of colleagues and the church and the world at large. It'd been expected, approved; he hadn't needed to give up a thing. But this time?

After all they'd endured, all they'd sacrificed, the media circus, the threats to both their livelihoods and their lives, the endless arguments and rejections, the battles, the quarrels and the tears – after he'd fought so hard to be here, now, like this, how could he turn around and say no, I'm sorry, I made a mistake? How could he spit in the faces of everyone who'd stood by them? How – most of all, this – how could he bear to look so … so ridiculous?

Except it was either that, or let this thing, this dead, rotting thing, drag behind him like a shackle, draining him, crippling him. It would destroy him, he knew: destroy both of them. Better to make a clean break, no matter what the cost. Rip off the Band-Aid and stem the tears. At the very least, perhaps making the move would keep him from thinking in clichés.

And, having made that decision, all he had to do was find the perfect moment: a day when Danny (it was Danny, of course it was Danny) had not been especially kind or caring or thoughtful, a day when he hadn't gone out of his way to make Casey's life easier; a day when he wasn't looking at Casey as though the sun and the moon and the stars rose and fell at Casey's behest. A day when he hadn't wakened Casey with a deep, drowning kiss and tender, careful touches that grew steadily less careful and more intimate and urgent, a day when Casey had not fallen back afterward on his pillow, heart pounding and his bones melting into gold.

Somehow the time's never right. How often now has Casey thought this is it! and taken a deep breath, ready to dive in and brave the choppy waters, only for Dan to turn to him and smile, his eyes alight with love and laughter, so that Casey loses his nerve and puts it off, again and again and again. And every time becomes a little harder.

(Natalie knows. He's sure that Natalie knows. He can tell by the snap in her dark eyes, the brusqueness in her voice, by the way she slaps his papers down in front of him. When she assigns them questions now it's always Casey who asks and Dan who answers, Dan cast as the smart one, and Casey the fool.)

Perhaps that's not so far from the truth. Maybe he is a fool – a fool to throw all this away, the best of him, the dearest. But it can't go on this way. Boredom will turn to indifference will turn to hatred, and he doesn’t want to hate Danny. He may not love him as he'd thought he did, but he never wants to hate him. Bad enough that he'll lose him as, surely, now he must. The truth is this: he's grown so far apart now that some days, when Dan touches him, it's all he can do not to slap him away. And that's a feeling he knows too well. That's how it ended with Lisa.

He won't, he can't, make that mistake a second time.

Today, then. Today will be the day. He's determined. He has it all planned, down to the very last detail. He'll be as gentle, as caring, as considerate as he knows how; he'll make it easy on both of them, as easy as it possibly can be.

So he wakes early, and wakens Danny too, with promises of coffee and bagels. He makes love to him, sweetly, tenderly, knowing what Danny doesn't, that it's for the last time; he touches every inch of him with hands and body and tongue, committing his form to memory. He will miss this, Dan's body warm and languid, the crook of his mouth, the sombre intensity that belies his passion. He laughs instead of snapping when Dan goes into the well-worn (worn out!) that's your favourite shirt! routine. He plays the ideal lover; the one you can never regret, because nothing so perfect can be meant to last. It's a role he's come, in recent months, to make very much his own.

He'll buy Dan coffee, the strong, bitter espresso that he loves and that turns Casey's stomach, even the smell of it, even the lingering taste on Danny's lips (but that's okay; he need never worry about that again). He'll buy him bagels, the good bagels from the deli two blocks down. He'll even give him time to finish his breakfast, the condemned man's breakfast, that last, hearty meal, before he breaks the news. Let Danny spend as much of this day as he can innocent, unaware, unsuspecting. He'll be heartbroken soon enough.

Casey stops for a moment as he's about to leave, hand on the apartment door. He looks back, silently memorising every detail. It's all he'll have to take with him into the future.

After this morning, nothing will be the same.

Today – today is the end of everything.


(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-22 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] soundslikej.livejournal.com
Oh ouch.

I love this. I thought the original was depressing....man, this just makes the whole thing about ten times worse! In a good way! Eep.

Poor, poor Danny. I'm almost glad that he never finds out!

(And god, how much do I love that Natalie knows, and takes it out on Casey in all these little ways! ♥ Oh Natalie.)

Thank you so much for this! I love that it totally made me rethink the original (which I have such a soft spot for, as I love to torture the boys so!), and it's a beautiful and painful story in its own right.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-23 03:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] out-there.livejournal.com
Oh, this is... oh. It's *good*. really, really *good*. In the heartbreaking and terribly painful way.


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May 2007

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