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OMG I FAIL AT FLUFF. This was supposed to be fluff. I don't know what happened. It was supposed to live in its own fluffy universe but that lasted about three seconds and it turned out to be a sequel to Believe (that's the Dan/Jones/Pingu one for those of you playing along at home). But it's not Tuesday anymore, so. *sets it down and runs off*

Title: Flux
Pairing: Jones/Pingu, sort of? and background Dan/Jones
Words: 950-ish
Rating: PG
Summary: Nathan Barley's about to have the worst gig of his life, but this isn't really about that.

F-locked for now 'cause it's weird and I'm tired. I've had notes on part of this for ages and dreamed some of it last night. Welcome to my brain, such as it is.

It takes Pingu a long time to realize that whatever's hitting the window isn't just more sleet. It's pennies. Little tiny Euro pennies like someone who takes a lot of trips to France and Spain might pick through handfuls of every time he pays for anything.

He opens the window and a two-cent piece hits him in the forehead.

"Sorry!" Jones calls up from the street. "Ran out of the little ones." He's wearing a ridiculous blue and orange knit cap with ear-flaps and tassels, and a leather jacket that doesn't really look like enough for how cold it is. "You gonna let me up or what? My balls're about to fall off!"

"Nathan's due back any minute!"

"No, he ain't. He's half-cut in the Nailgun with his hand down the back of some stylietwit's jeans. Let me up or I'll start throwing pounds!"

Pingu runs to the door and presses the buzzer to unlock the door. He stands there listening to Jones's boots on the stairs.

"Alright?" Jones says when he gets to the top, pulling off his hat. He fluffs up his hair to little avail; it still looks like a flat red-striped helmet, and Pingu can smell the days-unwashed incense-smoke-oil of it. It's not unpleasant. "What were you doing? Think I threw about three quid worth of coin at you."

"Sorry. I had my headphones on. Sorry. I thought you weren't--"

"Nah, I'm ages late. No worries." Jones rubs his hands together. "You ready to do this?"


Jones takes his jacket off and starts digging through the pockets. "Changed your mind?"


"Right!" He produces a little plastic case of screwdrivers. "Where are they?"

Pingu points a nervous finger at the flight case in the corner.

Jones snorts a laugh at it. "Fucking dildo, Bassnectar stickers?" Pingu half-expects him to put on gloves to touch the case, but he just shakes his head and opens it. After a moment of inspecting one of the turntables, he looks up and narrows his eyes. "You tell no one," he says, brandishing a screwdriver to emphasise his point.

"Right," Pingu says thinly. Jones is that angry force-to-be-reckoned with he saw when Dan was being paraded about in a costume.

"I'd like to ever work again, so not your mates, not Claire, not the internet, not Dan, yeah?" Jones's fingers are flying over screws, then over wires in the hapless innards of one of Nathan's prized possessions.

"I don't really talk to Dan."

"You should," Jones says without looking up.

The truth is, he'd like to. To ask questions that might help him decipher the squinted glare Dan gives him sometimes now. But he doesn't know how and he's not sure Dan would answer anyway.

"'Sides, you'll want the credit anyway. You got the soldering iron?"

Pingu's plugged it in in preparation, but when he picks it up he nearly burns them both because he jumps out of his skin at a loud 'YES!' sounding from nowhere.

"Steady on, mate. Just my mobile."

"Where are you?" says Dan's voice through the tinny speaker.

"Doing evil."

"Is that what you've done to the kettle?"

"I ain't touched the kettle."

"It won't go." Dan sounds drunk.

"So use the cooker."

"Yes, thank you, I had worked that out."

"Then why ring me, you tit?"

"To tell you to buy a new kettle. What evil?"

"Bypassing a resistor."

"I love it when you talk dirty."

Jones rolls his eyes, but Pingu can see he's smiling as he ends the call. "Here, see this?" He points to some little black cylinders in the sea of wires and boards. "That's the resistors for the tone control. I take them out of the game, he can't do shit for how fast the record's playing, 'specially once I hook the power direct into the motor, right?"

Pingu sort of understands, but nods like he does entirely "What...what if he just switches over to a CD?"

"'S why I'm getting at the mixer next," Jones says, smiling like it's just started raining...well, whatever Jones would want it to rain. Espresso and white labels, maybe, or toy telephones and pink champagne. Pingu doesn't really know. "He can try to go to a CD, but his aux inputs ain't gonna work. He can play one record like some wanker at a wedding, but that'll be it." He holds out the soldering iron. "Can you keep this steady?"

Pingu shows a hand, which isn't shaking as much as it could be.

Jones touches a bit of wire to the tip of the iron, where it hisses and smokes. "Go on, then," he says, and guides Pingu's hand where he wants it to go. "That's it." Pingu watches as a little bead of metal melts onto the new connection. Jones lifts his hand away. "Well done." He's still holding Pingu's wrist and smiling.

There's something about Jones that makes him want to take chances. He knows that if the offer were for more than that once, Jones would have told him in no uncertain terms. But he leans forward and catches Jones's lips anyway, dropping the iron to let it burn a hole in the floor if it wants to. Jones kisses him back for a moment, tongue soft and chin rough and lips still a little cold.

But Jones pushes him back gently. "I can't," he says, combing Pingu's hair off his forehead.

"I figured." He doesn't sigh, just takes a breath. "Then you and Dan...."

"Yeah, we got it sorted, sort of."

"That's...that's good."

"It's well fucking good." Jones is beaming. Maybe he'd like it to rain Dans in a good mood.

This makes two things he's touched and done more fixing than breaking. He's not exactly glad, but he says he is like he means it.
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