Pairing: Danny/Peyton [with Mac/Peyton and Danny/Lindsay]
Challenge/Prompt: alphabetasoup, J is for Jeremiad
Word Count: 875
Copyright: Title belongs to New York Telephone Conversation by Lou Reed.
Summary: Danny knows he’s going to call anyway. He can’t help it.
Author’s Notes: Set after episode 4x01 Can You Hear Me Now?, because although the Danny/Lindsay made me all shades of happy, I can’t resist coming in and subverting it all with this way-too-fun-for-words pairing. I don’t know what it is about Danny/Peyton, I really don’t, but it’s just so… enjoyable. Ah well. *sighs*
I am calling, yes I’m calling, just to speak to you;
For I know this night will kill me if I can’t be with you.
Early hours of the morning, and Danny can’t help but wonder if Lindsay left him alone tonight for this very reason. When Stella finally called in to tell them that she’d found their killer, and they were free to go home, Lindsay smiled gently at him and said she wanted tonight to herself. Hot bath, some quiet. It was believable, but Danny isn’t sure exactly how much she knows, how much she’s put together. Probably more than he wants her to have figured out. She’s not stupid by any means.
Time differences don’t count for anything, and when he’s had a beer and unwound a little, Danny knows he’s going to call anyway. He can’t help it.
When Peyton picks up and hears his voice, she sighs, but doesn’t say you shouldn’t be calling, Danny the way she did the last few times he tried. When madness became desperation and he doesn’t know how he’s supposed to feel about her, or how she thinks she feels about him. So much about his life is almost over defined, but this isn’t.
“Guess what I did yesterday?” he says, cutting her off before she can start some sort of tirade about what the hell he thinks he’s doing – he doesn’t know, ok? – and trying to make a conversation out of this confusion.
“I dread to think,” Peyton replies, an edge of amusement in her voice. He pictures the tension flowing out of her shoulders, though in reality anything could be going on on the other end of the phoneline.
“I abseiled down the Statue of Liberty,” he tells her. There’s an edge of smugness to his tone, because, seriously, how many times can you say you’ve done that? “Pretty cool, huh?”
“I thought you might be there,” Peyton says. “All that paint everywhere.”
“It wasn’t paint, it was blood,” Danny replies. “Wait, you heard about that?”
“We do have news in England.” Peyton laughs. “It’s not all afternoon tea and cricket here, you know.”
“Funny,” Danny mumbles. “Real funny.”
There’s a pause then, a draining, sickening pause when reality crashes back in. They’ve got to keep talking to fill in the holes, keep the space between them packed up with meaningless words and helpless babbling, otherwise they’ll remember all the ways what they’re doing is wrong and unfair and downright stupid.
“How’s Lindsay?” Peyton sounds like she cares, which she can’t because that would be masochistic on a level that even Danny can’t achieve.
“She’s good,” Danny replies a little evasively. He takes a breath, digs his fingers into his knee before he says: “I heard Mac enjoyed meeting your family.”
“Yes.” Now, finally, Peyton sounds a little awkward. Good.
“Are you two planning on getting married?” Danny can’t resist asking, and then wishes that he hadn’t.
“Of course n-” Peyton stops abruptly, he can hear her swallowing. “I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Has Mac asked you yet?” Danny has got to stop pushing, but he doesn’t know how to.
“No.” Peyton sighs. “I suppose he might, though.”
“Jesus,” Danny mutters, taking off his glasses running a hand over his face.
The silence is longer this time, a pit of despair and ambiguity neither of them want to venture near.
“Why did you call, Danny?” Peyton asks, sounding a little desperate. “Why couldn’t you just leave this alone?”
The same reason she’s always going to pick up when he calls. They can’t stay away from each other, no matter how hard they try. It’s ridiculous and god knows they’ll never be soulmates or any of that crap, but there’s some kind of damned connection between them that they just can’t leave alone.
“You didn’t come back,” Danny replies. “Mac did, but you’re still over there.”
He hears Peyton take a breath, but she doesn’t say anything. It’s possible that she doesn’t know what to say. He knows the feeling.
“It’s complicated,” she says in the end.
“What isn’t?” Danny decides to cut straight to the point. “Are you coming back?”
“I don’t know.” Peyton sighs heavily. “I- I just don’t know.”
“Ok.” Danny doesn’t push any further, just clenches the phone tight in a suddenly-shaking hand.
“I have to go,” Peyton says, she sounds anxious. “I’ll talk to you soon. Please… please don’t call here again.”
She puts the phone down on him before he can say anything else, and Danny sits and listens to the dial tone for a good five minutes, unable to put the handset down and accept the fact that whatever it is they’re trying to do is going to have to stop, die away, before it destroys everything.
“I miss you,” he mumbles softly, finally admitting the truth he’s been trying to avoid ever since he got out of hospital to find that Mac and Peyton had run off to London without so much as a goodbye. Last few months, he’s just been a mixture of anger and helplessness, and he can’t find the right form of acceptance within himself. He has Lindsay now, and that’s a good thing… but he does miss Peyton, he can’t help it.
It’s ok. It’s not like he’ll ever tell her. He’ll never tell anyone.
The apartment is quieter than ever when he finally terminates the call.