Notes: I hate titles. Did I say? Thanks to phoebesmum for beta and title suggestions.
"What does that button do?"
"It switches off live coverage."
"And what does that button do?"
"It controls one of the OB feeds."
"Uh-huh. And what does that button do?"
"It summons the butler with a full afternoon tea service."
"Oh." The blonde woman tossed her TV-Ad, glossy hair. "How about that button. What does it do?"
Jeremy turned towards the door, mouthing 'Help me!' at Dan who was leaning against the frame. Dan grinned and tried to raise his eyebrows before realizing they were already as high as they could go. What the hell was Casey trying to prove with this one? That he could date someone with an IQ lower than the average soccer score? That he liked women with big ... hair? That he appreciated the finer points of successful accessorizing? What?
"I'll go find Casey," he mouthed back at Jeremy who was now struggling to explain why the emergency shutdown button was hidden behind plastic casing. Dan pushed himself upright but was saved the effort by the arrival of Casey from around the corner. He nodded a greeting to Dan and made to go past into the control room. Dan caught his arm and stopped him. Casey frowned.
"Just listen," whispered Dan keeping his grip. They turned their attention on the mismatched duo. An image of The Princess and The Frog popped into Dan's brain. Only he wasn't sure who was who in this scenario.
"And this button?"
"Controls the fresnel circuit on the right."
"And what does this button do?"
"Controls the fresnel circuit on the right."
"Dime to a dollar she has no clue what a fresnel is," whispered Dan. "Jeremy's been at this fifteen minutes straight, swear to god. I hope she's great in bed, Casey, because you're not getting stimulation anywhere else."
"Danny!" Casey's whisper was shocked.
"Sorry, but it's true. And you know it." Dan felt Casey droop a little.
"I know. It's just ..."
"Nothing." Casey straightened again, shook off Dan's loosened grip and strode into the control with a smile stretched across his face. His date wasn't going to notice it didn't quite reach his eyes.
"Sorry to take so long. Jeremy, thank you for taking care of Judy, I'm sure you have a lot to do."
"You're right. Goodbye, nice meeting you, I've got to go and find someone to remind me why all life is precious." Jeremy scampered past Dan as if the devil (or Natalie's family priest) was at his heels. Dan headed back to his office shaking his head in bemusement.
Five minutes later Casey joined him. Dan tilted his head in question.
"Yeah, we broke up. I'm sure you're deeply saddened."
"I'm as saddened as you are wounded." Dan clasped his hands under his chin, batted his eyelashes and affected a high-pitched voice. "What does that button do?"
"Quit it, Danny," said Casey, slumping on the couch. Dan wheeled his chair over to sit in front of him.
"Was she like that with the remote?" Dan mimed repeatedly stabbing buttons. "What does that button do?"
"We didn't watch a lot of TV."
"Ah," Dan leered, ignoring the stab he got every time Casey referred to sleeping with someone. "Did she look at your ... thing and ask what it did?"
"You can say penis, Danny. You're not five. You could also say cock if you so chose. Or any of a number of epithets. There's a thesaurus somewhere."
"She did!" crowed Dan. "You're being all avoidant. She totally did! What does this button do?" He reached out an index finger intending to poke Casey in the belly button but Casey blanched and grabbed Dan's wrist before he got close. Something pinged in Dan's memory.
"It's just what?" he asked.
"Before. When I insinuated your girlfriend was as dumb as the XFL, you said 'It's just'. It's just what?"
"She was easy, Danny," said Casey with a sigh, not relinquishing Dan's wrist. "And I don't mean in bed. Although, yeah. But she didn't have hidden depths, barely had enough to have hidden shallows. We went out, we ate, we had some fun, we had some sex. It was easy. Don't you ever want that?" He let go and Dan's hand dropped onto his knee and stayed there. They both found it a fascinating point of focus.
"Yeah. I do want that. Sometimes. But other times I want - " Really, his fingernails could do with a clean, Dan thought, trying to ignore the flexing of muscles under his hand as Casey stretched out his leg.
Danny pulled his gaze from his hand and looked at Casey.
"What I deserve."
Casey bit his lip.
"You should have that," he said.
"Might have to invent a whole new species of super-human first."
Dan removed his hand from Casey's knee and failed to run it through his hair. Must remember haircut, he thought, dropping his arm uselessly to his side.
"I'm that good, huh?"
Dan wheeled quickly over to the desk, grabbing the computer keyboard and twisting the monitor.
"What are you doing?"
"Looking up evolution, seeing if I can hurry it along." He typed and clicked and read. "Nah, doesn't look like it, I might have to make do with the human race as is."
"We'll figure it out," said Casey.
"Good," said Dan, reaching out a finger towards the monitor. "What does that button do?"
The screen faded to black.