Title: Someone Like You
Summary: Dan and Jones post-series, with history, and the broken bits going back together. Sort of.
Notes: Originally written for the booshbattle Music Scuffle here. silent_fields' prompt was the New Order song 'Someone Like You,' hence the clever title. This is the fic that spawned the Roadtripverse in all its prequel-ific glory, and may be subject to minor change at any point as I get deeper and deeper into Jossing my own ending.
Masterlist for this universe is here.
"Fuck off, I can do it myself."
"That why you haven't had a bath since...well, the last time you tried to have a bath?" Jones notably does not fuck off, just carries on swishing disconcertingly pink bubbles about in the tub.
"Runnin' a flannel over your bits ain't the same thing, is it? Get the fuck in."
Jones is stronger than he looks, Dan's learnt, and played rugby in school, so he manages to grab onto Dan's waist and haul him up in a way that gives Dan no choice but to be dragged to the bath. It's lucky he broke his left leg or he'd have to have his head at the tap end to give the cast an open side to hang over. Lucky to have use of his legs at all, yes, that too. Won the fucking lottery with that one.
Jones kneels at the end of the tub and scrubs Dan's hair with the fruity botanical stuff he brings home from Stanley Knives, wet hands slipping over the knots in his neck and shoulders, and Dan gets his first erection in two months.
"Look what I found!" Jones brandishes a yellow seven-inch unearthed from the millions of record crates that seem to spend their nights breeding and sneaking into positions calculated to bruise Dan as he tries to navigate the flat.
Even through the haze of smoke and codeine, Dan knows what it is without needing to see the label. Fucking Supergrass. The record that got him the job that, ultimately, got him into this state. Like all Dan's records, it ended up belonging to Jones at some point.
"You should smash it," Dan mumbles, but he doesn't think he's made himself understood because Jones dusts it off and drops it on a turntable. Dan wonders if it's possible to smother yourself with a pillow, but then the remember-when nausea in his gut gets all twisted up in some slow electro, New Order maybe, and Jones-crafted scratches and squeals and blips that tear it to bits and paste it back together into something that sounds good again. Dan falls asleep.
When he wakes up, he finds Jones at the end of the sofa, trapped by legs and plaster. There's a new drawing on Dan's cast, too--a sailor-tattoo red heart over his instep. The scrolled banner across it is blank.
Jones wakes Dan by depositing something into his lap. Dan blinks at it. There were two rules when he moved in here: don't smoke crack (apparently a problem with the last housemate), and don't touch the decks or anything even sort of near them. The laptop he's now holding was always part of that untouchable realm.
"What's this for?"
"I seen you trying to write. Like a kitten with a crayon, you are."
It's true; it doesn't work right-handed because Dan's wrist is so fucked and the cast gets in the way, and left-handed it comes out looking like acid-test drawings. The words themselves haven't cooperated either, so it's just easier not to. "Don't you need it?"
Jones gestures at a pristine white Mac crowning the no-man's land of his equipment. "Poor old Alice there basically shits herself whenever I try to edit tracks. Should be alright for typing, though."
Dan's never known Jones to buy a new anything when there's an old something he can gut and rebuild. He knows it's a gift. And maybe an order to stop making excuses. "I'm not up to much," Dan says anyway.
"Least you'll be able to read it." He's grateful that Jones doesn't tell him not to smash it.
Jones retreats to his new toy. It can't have come cheap. Dan used to wonder if he was dealing, but then he found out what Jones actually makes on a proper gig he's not doing for dye jobs or as a favour, and it's not as though there's rent to pay.
Dan finds one thing Jones hasn't moved off the computer: a folder of photos, scans of Jones's old Polaroids, mostly of the two of them. Dan clean-shaven and oh so life-hasn't-fucked-me-yet about the eyes, Jones with bright pink spikey hair, pissed and grinning all across Europe, back when Dan used to do a regular series on other cities' music scenes, before Jonatton took over. Jones would dig up some old acquaintance to get him on a bill somewhere and go with him, and they'd spend their days frightening tourists and their nights fucking in shitty hotel rooms. Dan tries to remember how that stopped and finds he can't. Jones doesn't look up from his mixing to offer any clue and Dan thinks of sleeping on trains with strawberry hair tickling his nose and the time they got caught in a rainstorm in Cork.
He glances at the blank heart on his foot and starts typing.
The cast on Dan's arm is replaced with a tight black brace. Jones wants to attach wires to it and make him look like a cyborg. Dan puts his foot down on that--the foot that's not still stuck in a cast for another two weeks, that is. At least he can sort of use his crutches now, and it's a relief to get about on his own, as much as he finds he misses the warm solid Jones-shape holding him up. He could probably manage washing his own hair now, but Jones hasn't suggested it.
"D'you remember Sammy Burton?" Jones asks with his hands deep in lather and Dan's hair.
It's hard to concentrate like this, torn between the disappointment of the nice massage stopping and the increasing need for some awkward left-handed wanking under pink bubbles. "Sort of. Birds tattooed on her tits?"
"You would remember the tits."
"Fucking birds, Jones. Wearing little blue hats. It's hard to forget."
"Yeah, well, I ran into her down the Market. She's got some sorta promotion company now. Wants to book me on a tour with The Bikes."
The bathwater might as well be freezing. "What'd you tell her?"
"To ring me in about six weeks."
The date's marked on the weird old charity shop calendar in the kitchen: 3rd of November, 1973. It's when Dan gets to start walking properly, provided he does everything the doctors tell him.
"Thanks," Dan says hollowly. Is he meant to feel guilty that Jones is putting it off because of him? Because mostly he pictures himself limping about the flat smoking and eating Pot Noodle while the walls close in.
"You think Claire'll look after the House?"
Dan twists round so quickly that he bangs his leg on the side of the tub and pain shoots up to his hip. He swears and gets shampoo in his eyes, and it's pretty much the worst kiss ever, all soapy and backward, and Jones has been eating Marmite, but he's kissing back and that's the important thing.
The sheets are all wet and Dan needs a painkiller in a monumental fashion, and maybe that's why there's some kind of electro symphony playing under his skin. His fingers remember the curve of Jones's spine like the first guitar chord they learned. Jones is sweet and sleepy and kissing Dan's collarbone, which is possibly the real cause of the symphony, and how did he ever push this to the back of his mind?
"You going to find another waitress?" Dan asks, because everything at the back of his mind is coming forward. No discussion of it at the time, just Jones falling in love. That was over quickly but they never went back.
"Not 'less you want a career change." Dan appreciates Jones not spelling it out, even though he thinks it would probably be all right if he did, actually. He grumbles at the loss of his human blanket as Jones sits up, and is about to protest what appears to be a search for more condoms, but Jones produces a black marker out of the bedside table drawer. He uncaps it and bounces down the bed to Dan's foot, but then he looks up and pauses. "Can I?"
So much for not spelling it out. "Yeah, go on, then." Dan sits still and watches Jones carefully letter his own name across the heart drawing. Yeah, it's all right.
The front door clatters and Claire's voice echoes up the hall.
"Here comes the crowd," Jones mutters with a rueful smirk as he scrambles about for a pair of jeans.
Claire's brought Chinese and a very twitchy Pingu and it doesn't frustrate Dan at all that he can't hold the chopsticks.