mercyrobot: (collecting mr jones)
[personal profile] mercyrobot
Title: When the Whistle Blows
Pairing: Dan/Neil!Jones (or should that be Jones!Neil...)
Rating: R
Words: ~1600
Notes: This is a companion to [livejournal.com profile] thickets' excellent Stolen Hearts, Vintage Souls (FF/NB crossover where Jones is undercover Neil between parts 1&2 of FF) and might not make heaps of sense if you haven't read that. Also sideways-references a bit from [livejournal.com profile] the_reverand's 'Rookie' and 'Bobby' which I also highly recommend reading but it won't hurt your understanding if you don't. Of course, none of this would have happened if not for [livejournal.com profile] eggnogged's Fast Fuse. Big thanks to all these awesome ladies for their help and insipiration. <3

The title/soundtrack to this is Magnetic Fields' Born on a Train.

(Extra note to the non-Booshies on my flist, you don't need any canon knowledge of anything to read Fast Fuse itself, just watch this 3-minute music video (well, I think you'll find it's more like 3:29) and then get your butt over to [livejournal.com profile] fast_fuse_fic and start rolling around in all the awesome words. I KNOW you guys like some slash with your crime and/or law enforcement. ;P)



It's easy being Jones. Neil's got an entire life story ready to present to anyone who wants it, but no one does. They're not bothered where you're from, here, as long as you can drop the right names and wear the right clothes (which Neil does not do) or you're secure enough in your own strangeness to make it seem cool (which Neil is very good at doing). He's not touched a mixer since uni, but he can still beatmatch and backspin and he's always found it fun, and the thing about going round in headphones all the time is that no one thinks you can hear them. Act madly sunny enough and they think there's nothing in your head but a pile of techno breaks instead of the mental fact-sheets you're compiling on each and every one of them.

Troll is somebody else's old informant who wants off probation early, and beholden to the owner of Stanley Knives after death-glaring the salon's former DJ into quitting. It's perfect.

"He was really shit," Troll tells him over poorly pulled pints at a dark back table in the Nailgun when they first meet.

"I might be more shit," Neil says with a grin, already well into Jones. Troll knows only just enough.

"Unless you're secretly Nathan Barley, I doubt it."

"Who's Nathan Barley?" Neil knows, of course, and has dismissed him, but from the look on Troll's face it still feels like famous last words.

*

He takes Dan in for all the wrong reasons (car seat gymnastics and brown eyes too hopeful, too betrayed) and takes him to bed for even more wrong ones.

It happens because he's got Dan drunk and bitching about Jonatton Yeah? to see if Dan knows anything, which, thank fuck (and the relief isn't as much of a surprise as it should be), he doesn't, other than occasionally finding him with a naked woman on his desk. Dan derails into listing the crimes (of idiocy only, unfortunately) of everyone he knows, then stops mid-sentence and slurs, "You're so much better than those shits, Jones."

They've slumped closer and closer on the settee. Jones is drunk too (Neil isn't). "Nah, 'm just nicer."

Dan shakes his head for far too long, grinning a slack grin that's rare in any state. "No. Better," he says, eyes wide open like he's having some great moment of clarity. And then, "So much better," mumbled damp and whisker-rough into Neil's neck.

He knows he shouldn't, and that Dan could regret the hell out of this in the morning. He half-hopes Dan will regret it, pack up and leave, get Neil out of the stupid emotional decision he made. He shouldn't, but he does. Kissing Dan doesn't remind him of anyone. Neither does Dan sucking him off, clumsy like the way he might stagger if he tried to walk, but Neil needs it more than he realised. Dan doesn't seem interested in being touched, only in touching, and he passes out licking the stray come off Neil's thighs before Neil can even try.

*

Dan doesn't regret it. He comes home swearing about work and leaves it to Neil to shut him up with sex. Neil thinks, really, that Jones would be more inclined towards cuddly hugs and playful groping than shoving his too-drunk-too-early flatmate up against the wall, saying, "Shut the fuck up," and kissing him with too many teeth, but there are some things Neil can't do.

Dan composes the first paragraph of 'Rise of the Idiots' aloud with Neil's cock still halfway up his arse. Then he sits up on the settee naked and dripping god-knows-what, smoking fag after fag and scribbling and looking nearly happy.

*

They've been fucking for two weeks when Dan, sheepish and downcast, asks if his sister can stay for a while.

Neil doesn't have to convince Dan not to tell her, and they don't even discuss it. It's just understood.

Dan meets Nathan Barley shortly after Claire arrives, and drinks more than ever. Neil wishes he could get something, anything, on Barley, but the fucker is somehow clean as a whistle. Legally, anyway. He can't get enough words at once out of Pingu to even come close to talking him into pressing charges. Dan's laughter about Nathan's new haircut is fantastic but short-lived. Japanese tourists start turning up in Stanley Knives to get the 'official' version and Troll takes up smoking again.

Jones's mixes have titles like book chapters: 'Fuck the Preacher Suit' and 'Claire's Yelling Again.' Neil labels one 'Undercover Lover' but scratches it out and makes the scribble into a parrot.

Dan half-breaks Neil's heart fifty times a day with the drunken despair that's maybe his idea of punishing himself for the hole he's digging himself deeper and deeper into. The way Dan looks at him (looks at Jones, Neil reminds himself) sometimes breaks Neil in other places, because Jones isn't real. Neil's sorry for more than just Dan that he isn't, because he can't remember the last time anyone looked at him like that.

Oh. Yes, he can.

*

There's not enough to move on the Chimney Exchange or on Yeah? when he browbeats Dan into tossing off a builder. That would be enough, technically, if they didn't want him for more.

Perhaps ironically, the big break comes from Claire when Neil sees the video of Mandy. He preys on Claire's do-gooder instincts and hints at a tragic sordid past that isn't (for some people he's been, at least) entirely a lie.

"You should get her some help," he says. She may not be 13, but if he can get her out and someone from the Met can get her to talk, there might be a chance. "That ain't a nice life."

Claire registers shock, then pity. He knows the second from seeing her direct it at Dan.

*

Dan doesn't want to be touched, flinches when Neil tries. "You know what I did," he says, unfocused towards the wall.

"Don't matter."

"It fucking--"

"Yeah, alright, it fucking does. But not for--" Not for us, that's fucking dire, too much. "I don't care." He needs to not care. This would've been over with a month ago if he hadn't been so stubborn about keeping Dan out of any of it. Should've sent him into the parties Jones wasn't asked to play, the ones where the worst shit was rumoured to have gone down, got a good witness and who gives a fuck about destroying him faster.

He forces Dan to be still and stop shoving away, hears him sigh and finally feels him relax, warm hands on Neil's back that shouldn't have had to do what they did. That should be writing words someone will listen to the right way.

"What are you doing for Christmas?" Dan asks, eyes darting about but lingering and searching too much.

Neil drops his gaze. "I dunno. Spain, prob'ly." It's as good an answer as any. He won't be here. This building will be the station the Met bought it to become. A perspex reception kiosk in the kitchen, cells where the decks sit, art filed away in Evidence.

"Oh. Maybe New Year's, then? We could...."

"Yeah. Maybe," Neil says, because it's easier to agree and not let Dan make him an even bigger bastard with whatever he's going to suggest they 'could.' They can't.

He does promise later, silently, when Dan's snoring next to him, that he's not going to let Jonatton be shown any mercy.

*

He gets the call that Mandy's come through and they've got enough to make arrests just as Claire's walking through the door looking like death warmed over. She's saying things like window and gun and hospital and Dan.

"Just a minute," Neil says into his mobile, and fuck, he says it as Neil, but luckily Claire's too far gone to notice. "What?"

Claire recites it like she probably has fifty times already, though she may have left out some of it to other people to avoid Dan getting sectioned.

"Tomorrow night," Neil says into the mobile, and hangs up. Claire looks at him strangely. "This ain't really the best time, but I gotta leave the country."

"Don't fuck about, Jones."

"I'm not."

"Why--"

"I can't-- Look, I'll find you and Dan another flat, a good one, yeah?"

"And I'm meant to tell him what? I'm not blind and deaf. I know you're-- were-- whatever, I know. What do I say? 'Oh, Jones? He heard you'd gone round the twist and fucked off'? That'll help him." She's not even shouting, like she's too exhausted to really fight.

"I'm sorry, alright? But I gotta go." He pulls out the bag he keeps hidden under the decks, the one with his gun and badge in it. "Go see Dan. Or get some sleep." Stay in. Stay safe.

"Jones!" she shouts after him like a thousand times before as the door slams between them.

*

He keeps the one promise he can: a good flat, furnished, paid three months ahead. It's all he can do, that and run the most airtight raid he's ever been in charge of. He leaves Claire a note (signed Jones xx) that doesn't explain anything, and a set of keys.

He doesn't mean to go to the hospital, but somehow his feet, foreign in his own boots, take him there. Even through the morphine, the betrayal when Dan asks, "Who are you?" is like a neon sign. Dan's broken and confused and Neil can't help but tell him Dan reminded him of someone when he's lying there doing it, or his eyes are.

Jonathan Healy, 32, three years for armed robbery, Neil doesn't say. He's got nothing to say at all except one of the few things Dan has ever put any stock in: his own words. "You're better than those shits," he says.

He watches Dan start to remember before the medication drags him under. He doesn't say he's sorry, but he thinks it. He usually does.
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