Summary: It's all about timing and rhythm.
Warnings: Danny/Casey. Rated PG. m/m
There was an expression Dan got whenever Casey was reading his copy, like a third grader sitting on the edge of his seat, waiting for the teacher to hand back his homework. On anyone else, at least anyone who'd been a professional sports writer longer than fifteen minutes, it would have come off as embarrassingly insecure or annoyingly needy, but Dan had a knack for making what was at best irritating on other people seem oddly charming.
"So are you going to read it or not?" Dan asked, trying not to fidget, without much success.
"I am reading it, Danny."
"But you're not reading it."
"I can fully appreciate the elegance of your prose without reading it."
"But I can't."
Casey let out of his breath. "Fine. But keep in mind that I'm only doing this to indulge you."
"I have no problem with that, Casey. I'm tuned in to my inner child and ready to be spoiled rotten."
Casey forced back a smile, drawing on the self-discipline he'd learned as a parent, because, really, it was no better to encourage Danny than it was Charlie.
"All right. I'm reading it now." He took a deep breath and used his on-air voice. "If you can't dance, you can't hit, that's the common baseball wisdom. So it seems the reigning American League MVP Daniel Marte has developed a serious case of two-left feet, going 0 for 4 in today's game against the Angels, lowering his batting average to an ungainly .199."
Dan drummed his fingers impatiently. "Don't be intimidated by the brilliance. Feel free to lavish on the praise."
"When you say brilliance ?"
"Oh, come on, Case. You have to admit as leads go this one has style."
"If you can't dance you can't hit when exactly did this become baseball wisdom?"
"When Rick Down said it around the batting cage that time I was covering the Yankees."
"And if it comes from a boozed up, repeatedly fired hitting coach that makes it wise?"
"Allegedly boozed up, and you have to admit the man's got a point. Hitting is all a matter of rhythm--" He waved his hand in the air. "Like most important things."
Casey regarded him skeptically. "Such as?"
Dan pondered. "Well, sex, for one."
"So if Daniel Marte can't dance and he can't hit "
"You're free to draw your own conclusions." Danny grinned evilly. "There are those rumors about the big man using steroids, and it's well documented the effect that has on---you know, the size of a man's bat."
"I don't think I need to be having this conversation."
"Is that because you're feeling intimidated by the brilliance of my copy? I did warn you about that."
"You did, indeed."
"So that's one stylish lead you've got there. It has a good beat, and you can dance to it."
Dan took the paper back with a flourish. "You have excellent taste, my friend."
Natalie popped her head in the door. "Dan, they need you down in Editing."
"My invaluable expertise is required by our colleagues in the Editing department," Dan told Casey.
"I heard that somewhere."
"Lead story in the Post this morning," Natalie said, before ducking away.
"Later," Dan said.
Casey assumed this was all he'd hear about dancing until they were actually on air, but he'd underestimated his partner's interest in the subject.
They were settled at the desk, getting some last minute fluffing from wardrobe and makeup, when Dan said, ""I've always thought you'd be a good dancer. You know, if you had the right partner."
Casey raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
"I'm just saying."
"You're saying. Or you're saying?"
Danny grinned. "Relax, Case. I'm just saying."
"We're thirty seconds out," Mike started the countdown from the control room.
The rest of the staff cleared off.
"Have a good show everybody," Dana's voice came over the earpiece.
Dan shuffled his papers. Casey took a deep breath and sat up straighter.
"But are you saying something?" he asked.
Danny only smiled mysteriously.
"Fifteen seconds out," Mike said.
"So when you say you think I'm a good dancer, would that be doing the boogey in a powder blue tuxedo at the prom good? Or rose in my teeth, look of determination doing the tango good?"
"And you're sure you're not saying something here?"
Dan turned and looked him in the eye, his smile as serious as it was sweet. "I'm saying I'd dance a thousand steps for you, Casey."
"In five, four "
"I was kind of hoping you were saying that," Casey whispered.
Danny grinned as Mike finished the count down, then he put on his professional sportscasting expression. "Good evening. From New York City, I'm Dan Rydell, alongside my partner Casey McCall. The old baseball wisdom goes that if you can't dance you can't hit "
Casey couldn't say much about Dan's timing, and whether he had any rhythm or not was yet to be seen. But if dancing was anything like being friends, he had to believe they'd do a pretty mean two-step together.