mercyrobot: (roadtrip jones)
[personal profile] mercyrobot
Title: You Get the Last Word
Pairing: Dan/Jones
Rating: PG-13
Words: ~2000
Summary: And they saunter vaguely back towards real life.
Notes: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] the_reverand for looking over this! Any fail is all mine.
Takes place directly after One Day We'll Look Back And... Masterlist for this universe is here.
Oh! And the thing that gets bought in the shop is courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] silent_fields :D


You Get the Last Word

It feels like they're driving towards something Dan isn't sure he wants to reach. Well, they are-- the only appeal of London is having a refrigerator and a few more books. But in the abstract, too. This morning felt suspiciously like goodbye, Jones slow and serious and whispering his name over and over, kissing his eyelids and his temples as they lay in a clinging breathless tangle. Like Jones was taking Polaroid snaps with his lips, and maybe Dan was doing the same thing with his hands, taking notes on ribs and hipbones and drawing a map.

What goes on tour, maybe. Dan hasn't wanted to ask, not during breakfast in a twee little cafe, not on the near-silent ferry crossing when they stood at the railings and watched Dublin fade into the distance.

Jones isn't drawing or chattering or drumming on the dash and hasn't complained about Dan playing his Big Star tape. He's just staring out the window and fiddling with one of the chains round his neck.

"Jones?"

Dan takes his eyes off the road long enough to see Jones look over and not quite smile. "Alright?"

"I was about to ask you that."

"Yeah." He shifts about in his seat, the old leather creaking. "You ever see that bit with the Box Tops on Top of the Pops or whatever it was? Off their fuckin' faces and Chilton's eyes all rolled back in his head laughing like a demon."

"No." Dan laughs, but isn't quite relieved, because it feels grasped-for. He wonders if they're going to be able to remember how to talk to each other. "We never did see those caravans."

"No, we never did." Jones reaches over and lays a hand on Dan's leg, squeezing gently. "Maybe next time, yeah?"

Dan swallows, resists the urge to rummage for his cigarettes or fast-forward through Nature Boy and puts his hand on top of Jones's. "Yeah," he says.

Jones turns his hand up and threads his fingers through Dan's, and starts telling the story of how he discovered the caravans, a mad day with a Croatian girl he met in a hostel. It's hard to imagine Jones being caught in someone else's whirlwind rather than being the whirlwind, and Dan feels a twist in his gut that might be jealousy if he'd let it.

"Dunno whatever happened to her. Said she'd write me a letter but nothing ever came. Speaking of, where is it?"

"Where's what?"

"Postcard you bought in that mad old lady's shop."

"I sent that to Claire."

"Oh." Now Dan's sorry he didn't get another. "Well, I've had three, reckon she deserves one. What'd you say?"

"Nothing much. A haiku about barbed wire." They'd walked through chilling parts of Belfast that were full of it, murals pointing guns at them.

"Poetry too? You been holding out on me, Ashcroft. Fucking sonnets, c'mon."

"Sonnets about fucking?" Dan says it without thinking.

Jones laughs, but his grip on Dan's hand tightens. "Yeah, a proper ode to my cock. Iambic and all."

"Do you want an ode or a sonnet? They're different things."

"I'm not bothered, Oxford English. Cock poems."

"Let me not to the...fucking of...true cock--"

"Fuck off, even I know that one." Jones pulls Dan's hand across into his own lap. Dan lets it settle at the top of Jones's thigh and tries not to let his fingers itch to write stupid maudlin lines as Jones traces nonsense shapes over his knuckles. Star to my wandering bark or some shit.

"I don't really write poetry."

"You're well poetic. That bit about Helen and her broken-piano laugh and lost time piling up in the corners -- oh, shit." That's Jones knowing he's caught, because Dan wrote that two days ago with Jones asleep next to him. "I thought it was gonna be your review of those quiffy accordion wankers, and--"

"It's all right," Dan says. Though he feels a bit itchy under the praise and having his words quoted back to him, and keeps looking resolutely forwards, it really is.

"That mean I get to read more of it?"

Dan doesn't want to give Jones carte blanche to go rifling through notebooks. There are other lines he stopped himself putting to paper, but if this is coming home with them.... "Maybe."

Jones lifts Dan's hand and delivers a wet kiss to the back of it.

*

When they stop for petrol, Jones doesn't badger Dan for sweets, but he does follow him into the toilets and lean against the wall without doing anything.

"What?"

"How much longer we got?"

He knows the question's not loaded, but it feels that way a little. "Three hours or so. Why?"

"They said there's a town a bit up the road here."

"And you want to go see it. What's there?"

"Sheep, prob'ly. Old men in wellies. Lunch."

One last adventure. "If you like."

"I like."

Jones's smile goes a bit mischievous as Dan zips up, but he waits until Dan's washing his hands to get between Dan and the towel roll and kiss him for too long to be doing where anyone could walk in, sober people who might mind. Impressionable children or Nazi motorcycle gangs. But it's hard to really worry, and no one comes in. Jones has found sweets on his own, apparently; his tongue is perfumey and bittersweet from violet mints.

"What was that for?" Dan asks.

"Saving 'em up, ain't I?"

"What?"

"'S a bit hard to do while you're driving."

If anyone notices two wet handprints on Jones's arse or the fingernail marks on the back of Dan's neck, they wait until after the door's closed behind them to remark on it.

*

They have pie and chips and creamy local ale in a pub called the Wailing Goat. Jones illustrates it on serviettes and bus tickets with drawings of a screaming goat being chased by a pitchfork-wielding Dan in Wellington boots. He complains of having put too much vinegar on his chips and steals most of Dan's instead.

A few of the sparse scattering of locals stare openly at them, including a pair of young women who keep whispering to each other in between unsubtle glances. "Reckon they think we're famous," Jones says as he licks salt from his fingertips.

Dan would like to stop him sitting so close, but he also doesn't want to. "You, maybe. I could pass as the washed-up Nirvana-spawn support act."

"Maybe I'm your groupie."

*

Down the little high street, there's a shop with so many chairs and bits of old farm equipment and mirrors tangled up on the pavement outside that at first Dan wonders if there was a flood or a fire and whatever could be saved was dragged out, but it's really just that there was no more room on the inside. The place is packed to the rafters with disorganised piles of magazines and old signs, narrow pathways between chests and desks and wardrobes doing double duty as display shelves for armies of box cameras and teapots and doorknobs, hatboxes of dusty half-broken 78s and stacks upon towering stacks of books. Dan blinks at it to try to see any one thing rather than all of it at once. That one thing is Jones, turning slowly in the cramped space between a bright blue Aga and a moth-eaten pram full of dolls, with an openmouthed smile and his eyes lit up like Christmas. It's no surprise, really-- this must be like coming home for him.

Jones disappears into another room that the owner points him to, and Dan thumbs through a box of old postcards. There's one with a grotesque little drawing of a little man playing an accordion and a fairly filthy joke about sausages. He pays a pound for it and ignores the smirk he gets.

The other room of the shop is hot and dusty like a barn and is a maze of dangerous mountains of furniture. He finds Jones climbing up a precarious bookcase by way of a rocking chair, apparently trying to get at an old telephone.

"You'll break your neck," Dan calls. Jones turns his head and looks like he's about to say something cheeky around his grin, but that drops off as he loses his balance. Dan tries to grab him but only ends up breaking his fall as they land in a winded heap on the floor.

Jones starts laughing once it's clear neither of them has broken anything. "Knight in shining armour, you," he says, and kisses the corner of Dan's mouth.

"Never," Dan says, or tries to, but it's muffled by Jones's lips and turns into a surprised 'mmph.' His hands find their way to Jones's hips by rote, nearly frightening in the way they fit there. In the way everything fits everywhere.

But even Jones isn't exhibitionist enough to do any more than that on the floor of a shop, rolls away with a groan and then helps Dan up. They drag a piano-less piano bench over to get the phone down. It's rusty and dusty and the cord's all dry rotted. Jones turns something on the back and sparks a delighted gasp as it rankles out a slow tinkling tune like a sick ice cream van.

"A music box that looks like a phone?"

"Think it might be both," Jones says without taking his eyes off it. "I'm having it, whatever it is."

The shop owner wants fifty pounds for it and only takes cash, and Jones deflates so visibly at discovering he's only got a tenner and a load of random Irish coins that Dan digs into his pockets and produces a pair of crumpled twenties. Jones walks out grinning and cradling his prize. "I'll pay you back, yeah?" Jones says.

"Don't worry about it," says Dan, and then adds, "Remember this on your birthday," because he doesn't want to admit Jones's smile was worth ten times that.

After Dan's started the car but before he's put it in gear, Jones leans across and kisses him, deep and sweet with teeth worrying at Dan's lower lip and fingers curling into his hair. "Thank you," he says softly, and Dan doesn't drive far before he pulls the car into a layby hidden from the road by trees where they end up lying on the rough gravel with lime marking their clothes with white dust.

*

The space between where they are and London disappears under the tyres, and the traffic in the city means Dan needs his left hand to shift gears constantly. Jones's hand drops away onto Dan's knee, and eventually retreats into his own lap.

They're in front of Dan's building and the something heavy that's been growing unfurls and settles between them, or maybe it's just Dan feeling it. "Do you want to come up?" Dan asks after a moment of silence with Jones biting his lip and fiddling with his seat belt. "Max is probably out."

"Nah, I gotta get the car back."

They get out and Dan goes round the passenger side to get his bag from the back seat, straightens and turns to find Jones standing close and reaching out towards him, and he knows that look. "Jones--"

"Nobody's watching." It's a short kiss but Dan holds onto Jones much longer until he laughs into Dan's shoulder and steps back. "I ain't going off to war, y'know. Come round tomorrow and I'll show you that pirate cartoon."

He doesn't ask and what else or any of the other questions tying themselves in knots.

*

His room feels empty without anyone in the corner babbling about something or making noise or trying to undo his belt while he writes, just Dan and some flat cheap champagne he found in the fridge and a half-crushed pack of fags with a postcard he probably shouldn't write on, but does. Ridiculous words in bold ink over the faded script of someone named Arthur telling someone named G. that the weather is fine and Mother has hurt her back. 

livid hot in me
your cock is a thunderstorm
throbbing like my--


He can't finish it. It's the worst thing he's ever written anyway and it's not funny like he meant it to be. He shoves the postcard into a drawer and shakes another cigarette out of the packet.

Jones has drawn a heart on the filter.
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