Count: ~750 words
Summary: Two kisses, twenty years apart.
Spoilers: General spoilers through S2.
Warning: Character death.
Notes: Thanks to barely_bean and fox1013 for beta.
This story is for mireille719, who first asked me to write Dan and Casey's last kiss.
Last Kiss First
by Celli Lane
Dan didn't need the quiet words from the doctor, or the departure of all the medical personnel from the room, or anything at all to tell him that time was almost up. He pulled his chair as close to the side of Casey's bed as he could, and took Casey's unresponsive hand in both of his own. Across from him, Charlie's face was pale as he held his father's other hand.
The beeping of the heart monitor faded further.
"Goodbye, Dad," Charlie said, nearly inaudible.
Dan leaned forward and kissed Casey one last time. "I love you, Casey McCall," he said. A tear fell onto Casey's cheek, and Dan freed a hand to wipe it away.
A long time after the monitor was silenced, Dan took a deep breath and forced himself to his feet. He let go of Casey, made his way around the bed, and put his arms around Casey's son.
"We've had a year, Dan." Charlie put his head on Dan's shoulder like he was six again. "Isn't this supposed to be easier?"
"Maybe this is easier," Dan said, and Charlie let out a choked sob. "Come on, let's go. Your wife and your mom are waiting for you outside. You're going to be okay. You've got family."
"I've got you."
Dan's arms tightened around Charlie. "And I've got you. Thank God."
Charlie lifted his head but didn't let go. "You're sitting shiva, right?"
Dan reminded himself to breathe normally, and nodded.
"Can I--can I be a part--"
"Of course! Of course, Charlie."
"I think Dad would want me to."
Dan remembered to breathe again. "I know it would mean…a lot to me. Thank you."
He got Charlie off into the hall, with Chloe and Lisa shepherding him away, and thankfully they were too far away to notice when he collapsed into a chair and buried his face in his hands.
"Oh, God, Casey."
Dan was sitting on the front steps, heedless of the cold from the concrete radiating through his slacks, when another car pulled up. He sighed and braced himself, but when he looked up, it was Casey.
"Hi," he said stupidly, jumping to his feet. "What--who's doing the show?"
"I don't know. Dana said she'd find someone."
"You left before Dana found a replacement? She's going to kill you."
"Danny--" Casey stopped and shook his head. "Dana all but packed my bag for me. Don't worry about it."
"But the show--"
Casey hugged him. Dan nearly gasped at the sudden contact. "Shut up, okay?" Casey was saying roughly in his ear. "I needed to come."
Dan was hugging Casey back without making the conscious decision to do it, digging his hands into fists against Casey's jacket. "Thank you," he managed to say.
When they sat back down on the steps, Dan rubbed the side of his hand under one eye. "We could go inside if you want. Real chairs. So much food, you have no idea."
"I'm good here," Casey said. "In there, if I ask how you're doing, you'll just tell me you're fine."
"Maybe I am fine."
"Could be." Casey was warm against Dan's side, blocking out the evening breeze. "Are you?"
"Not so much."
"Talk to me, Danny."
"I always thought that maybe some day I'd get my chance to prove myself to him. To earn back just a little of his respect. I didn't think he'd--die on me before I got around to it." Dan tilted his head back, staring up into the black above. "Isn't that what funerals are for? Regretting all the things we'll never get from the dead?"
"You know, funny you should say that." Casey leaned closer into Dan. "I thought about that a lot on the way up here."
"About the purpose of funerals. I think you're supposed to look around at the people you still have, and think long and hard about the things you don't want to regret anymore."
"Casey." Dan stopped looking at the sky. Casey was pale in the shadows next to him, gaze steady and solemn. "Casey, is there something you don't want to regret?"
Casey's hand settled very tentatively just below Dan's shoulder. "Only if you don't."
Dan raised his own hand and brushed his thumb along the line of Casey's jaw.
The first time he kissed Casey was an autumn night in Connecticut, in funeral suits with the sounds of the shiva behind them. It was something neither of them would ever regret.