Title: Five Times Danny Castellano is a Man (and One Time He Totally Isn't)
Disclaimer: Very much not mine.
Summary: "Was he a man?"
Notes: Hopefully this works as, like, a concept. Also, there is definitely a Kelly Kapoor line somewhere in this, because it fit and I love her and I couldn't resist.
He randomly asks about her date for no reason at all.
"Was he a man?"
"What do you mean? Yeah, of course he was a man."
"No, I mean, like… was he a MAN?"
Exasperated, she says, "Danny, don't just repeat it and expect me to understand what you're saying."
"Was this the kinda guy who, if you heard glass breaking in the middle of the night, is he gonna jump out of bed, say, 'stay here,' and look through the house naked with a baseball bat, or is he gonna hide under the covers with you?"
Mindy glances away from him. "I don't know, that's a good question."
"Is this the kinda guy who is gonna get grossed out when you give birth, or is he gonna dry your forehead and tell you you look beautiful while all that disgusting stuff is coming out of you?"
"I couldn't glean that from this one date we had."
"Is this the kinda guy that's not afraid to get into a fistfight at a Springsteen show," he says, ignoring her protests as he stands, "because someone really disrespects him?"
"Okay," she dismisses, not in the mood for another Springsteen debate.
"I mean, he'll just put it out –"
She rolls her eyes. "Okay."
"—And he'll take 'em down right there, right now?"
"Okay, now you're just talking about yourself!" she cries. "You're just talking about yourself!"
"I'm not talking about myself," he insists.
He moves to sit beside her on the couch and admits, "Maybe there's some overlap."
She's got her head down on her desk when he walks in.
"Hey. What's up, you sleeping in here now?"
Mindy lifts her head up to look at him, and he can see the telltale black streaks of mascara under her eyes. She sniffs. "Could you please leave me alone right now?"
His eyes narrow and he crosses his arms over his chest. "Why are you crying?"
"It's nothing." She wipes at her face. "Don't worry about it, okay?"
For a few moments, he just stands there, torn between wanting to help and wanting to leave her alone. She sniffles again, and he sighs, pushing her office door shut before he moves to stand in front of her desk.
"What's going on?"
She shakes her head. "I'm just an idiot and I should've known better."
"What are you talking about?"
"I started hooking up with Brendan again," she says sheepishly. He makes a face, and holds up a hand to stop him. "I know, all right? Anyway, it was a mistake. I just… I thought it'd be different this time."
She shrugs. "I thought it'd be real, I guess."
He nods slowly before asking, "But Deslaurier? Really?"
"I know, Danny! Okay? It's just that he's, like, stupid charming, and he has this really nice jaw line, and he bought me stars for my birthday!" She huffs. "And you know what? I'm tired of being alone and having my friends give me gifts like Microwave Cooking For One."
He's silent for a few long moments as he stares at her, frowning. Finally, he says, "You can do a lot better than that guy. You know that, right?"
"I know. I mean, logically, I know that. And I am trying here." She sighs. "I just need him to not… buy me stars, or, you know… look at me like that on the elevator anymore."
Danny nods. Very seriously, he asks, "You want me to go upstairs and give him a talking to?"
She smiles a little. "No, that's not necessary."
"You want me to beat him up?"
She giggles. "Maybe," she says, her mood beginning to lift.
Danny grins, pleased with her reaction. "All right. No more crying?"
"Geez, sorry, Danny," she says lightly, rolling her eyes. "Didn't want to make you uncomfortable or anything."
"Ah, I'm not uncomfortable," he says with a shrug. "I just don't want you to be sad." A beat, and then, "Better atmosphere in the office."
Tears spring to her eyes for a different reason, and she smiles down at her desk. "Thanks, Danny."
"I just, I don't understand what makes this a show as opposed to a concert."
He opens and closes his mouth before settling on, "Just wait for it to start, okay?"
She rolls her eyes. "Danny, I swear, you –"
A male voice behind her suddenly cuts in. "Mindy!"
They look up to see Josh standing there, his stupid, beautiful grin firmly in place. Mindy grits her teeth and stands to face him, Danny right behind her with a supportive hand on the small of her back.
"What's going on?" he asks, like they're old buddies. "How've you been?"
"Awesome," she says, grinning a little too widely. "I am dating a lot of guys. A lot. Black guys, mostly."
He chuckles uncomfortably. "Oh-kay…" He looks between Danny and Mindy, takes in the way Danny's staring at her, and frowns. "So I guess you guys are a thing now, huh?"
"What?" She turns around to look at Danny and then back at Josh. "No. We work together. We're friends."
"Huh. Interesting," he says. He leans in smarmily. "So listen, if this is just a friendly concert, what –"
"It's a show," Danny finally speaks up.
Josh makes a face. "What's that, man?"
"It's a Springsteen show. It's not a concert."
"Whatever. I'm not really a fan, I'm here with a client," Josh says, laughing. "Anyway, what do you say we meet up after the concert?" He pauses, looks pointedly at a glaring Danny, and then back at Mindy. "Huh? Very cool club opening nearby. I'm a VIP. Obviously."
"Um, no," she says.
"Are you really still mad?" he sighs. "Christmas was, like… so long ago."
"Am I still mad that you lied about having a girlfriend of two years that you lived with?" She pretends to think about it for a second. "Uh, yeah. Still mad about that."
"Well, look, we broke up right after that… and, you know, it was really because I just couldn't be with her when I was still so in love with –"
"Okay," Danny says, cutting him off. "That's enough out of you, buddy. Get lost."
"Excuse me, I'm speaking to Mindy," Josh says snottily.
Danny shakes his head. "Not anymore." He puts himself between Mindy and Josh and points. "Go."
"Get out of my face, man."
Josh pushes him, and Danny pushes back. Mindy watches, wide-eyed, as Josh shoves at him again and Danny connects his fist to Josh's face. Josh's glasses fly off and scatter behind him, and he launches himself at Danny.
Mindy snaps to her senses and shouts at them to stop, watching as the two continue shoving and wrestling each other. Behind them, she notices a passerby step on Josh's glasses and smirks a little.
She also notices that the people milling around have started looking at the weird little threesome, and she announces, "This is nothing, everyone! The blonde guy's my stupid ex. They're going to stop in a second. Don't report this!"
While she talks, Danny manages to get in a decent hit to Josh's ribs. In return, he takes a punch to the jaw that sends him toppling into Mindy as she's appealing to the crowd.
"Oh my God!" She stumbles back and tries to keep them both upright. "Stop it now! Stop!"
Danny finds his footing and attempts to get back into the fight, but Mindy grabs onto the back of his shirt and pulls him back to her.
"Okay, Danny, stop it! Enough, for God's sake. Security's going to come over and kick us out." She pushes herself between the two men and turns to Josh. She punches his arm, hard. "You are the worst, man! If it's even possible, you have actually become a bigger douchebag since Christmas."
"No, enough," she says curtly. "I would like you to never speak to me again, which I believe I've actually said to you already. Several times."
He sighs. "Okay. Fine." He backs away with his hands in the air and steps on his already-broken glasses. "Let me know if you change your mind, though. Because I'll always love you."
"Okay, whatever, creepo. Go to hell," she says. She turns to Danny then and looks him up and down. "Holy crap! Are you okay?"
"I could've taken him," he tells her, still breathing heavily.
"I know." She reaches up and touches the bruise already forming on his jaw, and Danny flinches. "Geez. You know, it's a good thing he left. I'm pretty sure doctors shouldn't go around getting arrested for fighting at concerts. Twice."
He drops into his seat and looks up at her. "How about for getting drunk and falling into a stranger's pool?"
"Ha ha ha," she fake laughs, taking her seat next to him. After a few moments, she nudges him with her elbow. "So, by the way, you really stepped in and defended my honor there. Thanks."
"Oh, well… it wasn't like… you know, he called it a concert," he tries to explains, shrugging. "I mean, I couldn't just let that stand."
She smiles at him. "Thanks anyway, then."
He nods and winces as he gives her a crooked grin. "Any time."
"Okay, maybe just, like, a teensy bit to the left."
Danny looks up at her, his expression pained. "What's a teensy bit?"
"You know, like…" She holds her fingers about three inches apart. "That much."
Danny obligingly drags her television cabinet a teensy bit to the left. "Better?"
"Much." She bites at her fingernail and looks at her couch. "I think we should move the couch next."
"I like how you say 'we' like you're not going to just stand there and boss me around."
"Danny, what would you like me to do?" She does a palms-up. "I can't lift furniture, okay? That's why I called you, my very strong and manly and… handsome friend."
His eyes roll, but she can see the hint of a smile on his lips. "Why are you doing this, by the way?"
"I was procrastinating online the other day, and I ended up reading a whole thing about feng shui, and as it turns out, my living room is totally wrong for my… life." She shrugs. "I don't know. I figured it couldn't hurt to try something different."
"So you're saying I'm probably going to end up moving everything back in a couple of weeks when you get tired of it?"
He chuckles under his breath. "All right, so where is the couch going?"
"Over there," she orders, pointing across the room.
"Okay." He blows out a breath and stands at one end of the couch. "Grab the other end."
"Oh. Uh, sure," she says, and stands across from him. She rubs her palms together.
"Yeah." She rolls her shoulders. "Let's do this."
"On three," he tells her. "One… two… three."
Together, they manage to move the couch to its optimal feng shui location halfway across the room. Danny stands back and takes it in while Mindy sits, getting a feel for the change.
He wipes at his forehead with the back of his hand. "So? Good?"
She nods and smiles at him. "I think so. I think I might like this."
"Good." He groans and drops onto the couch beside her. Immediately, he closes his eyes. "Am I done for the day?"
"Mmm," he mumbles. "Can you make me that sandwich now?"
Mindy tries to stifle a laugh as she looks over at him sprawled out next to her. "Um, are you sure? Because it looks like you're ready for naptime."
"I'm just resting my eyes. And my legs. And my arms. And my back."
"Oh, poor baby Daniel," she coos mockingly. She pushes at his shoulder, and he opens his eyes. "Come on. I'll make you a sandwich, but you have to keep me company. Otherwise, I feel a little too 50s housewife."
He groans in response. "I have to get up?"
She hops off the couch and holds out her hands to pull him up. "Come on."
"Okay, okay," he sighs.
"Hey, let's just remember who's making who a sandwich here, okay?"
"Let's remember who spent all morning moving whose furniture," he counters.
She smiles and waggles her hands at him, and he nods, placing his hands in hers and pulling himself up off the couch. The action gets her slightly off balance, and he grabs her waist to steady her.
"Sorry," he says. His hands are still on her body, his fingers warm through the thin fabric of her blouse.
Mindy just stares at him. "Um, that's okay."
For a long few moments, they just stand there, staring at each other. Then she presses herself against him, leaning upward, and he meets her halfway, slanting his mouth over hers while he pulls her flush against his body.
Her hands search for purchase on his forearms and slide up his chest to his shoulders. He bites her bottom lip and fists his hand in her hair.
Danny spins them and lowers her onto the couch, one of his thighs pressed between her thighs. He crawls on top of her, and Mindy's hands fly to his belt buckle.
"What does feng shui say about sex on the couch?" He scrapes his teeth along the column of her throat.
"Ugh, who cares?" she groans, and kisses him again.
She pokes him in the ribs, hard. "Did you hear that?"
He mumbles incoherently, and she's about to poke him again when something crashes in the direction of her kitchen. Danny jolts awake, his body immediately tensing up as he listens for another noise. There's a second crash, and she grabs for him, digging her nails into his bicep.
He leans over to whisper in her ear. "Stay here."
Danny slips out from under the covers and grabs the baseball bat he'd placed under her bed before creeping toward the closed door. Mindy stares at him, wild-eyed.
"At least put pants on!" she whisper-yells.
He puts a finger to his lips, shushing her, and points to the bed. "Stay," he mouths.
Quietly, he eases the door to her bedroom open and pushes it shut behind him. She pulls on her panties and drags his t-shirt over her head before creeping over to listen, terrified, at the doorway.
There's a long minute of silence before she hears him yell, "Oh, what the fuck?"
"Danny?" she calls. "What is it?"
"It's a cat!"
There's the sound of furniture being pushed and something moving around in her living room. "There's a cat running around your apartment right now!" he yells.
"But I don't have a cat!"
"Yeah, no kidding!"
Mindy pushes the door open and warily pads out. She finds Danny on the ground in the middle of her living room, looking under the sofa.
"Where'd it go?"
"I'm not sure," he grumbles. "It was moving really fast, and I couldn't see that great."
"Well, turn a light on. Duh," she says, flipping the switch nearest to her. She turns to her kitchen and throws up her hands. "Ugh, that little jerk! He knocked all this stuff right off the counters."
Danny stands and continues looking around her sofa. "I told you, you've got to start keeping that window shut at night! You're lucky it was just a cat!"
Mindy huffs. "Well, you know what? I usually do," she tells him. "Tonight I was a little distracted by, hmm, what was it? Oh yeah, you and your penis."
Danny groans. "Okay."
"So, sorry, okay? That I didn't stop in the middle and say, 'Hey, Danny, we should really go around the apartment and close all the open windows before we rip each others clothes off!'"
"All right. I get it. Just…" He surveys the room. "What do we do about this cat?"
"Ooh!" She points at him. "Tunafish."
"So now you're feeding it."
"Maybe we can lure it out of hiding," she suggests. "And then maybe we can put another can on the fire escape, and he'll go outside."
Danny crosses his arms over his chest. "Or you'll have like eight more cats."
"Do you have any better ideas?" she asks, her eyes narrowed and her hands on her hips.
He eyes her stance and sighs. "I'll get the tuna."
"I still can't believe you took me to the Empire State Building!" She grins widely at him. "You always say it's so cliché and stupid."
"I know. I still think it is," he admits. "But you like it, so."
"Danny," she sing-songs. She kisses his cheek. "You're just a big softie at heart, you know that?"
She steps up to the railing and sighs, taking in the sight of the city below them. "It is so beautiful up here. Even you have to admit that."
Danny stands shoulder-to-shoulder with her. "Yeah, it's great."
She digs through her purse and pulls out her iPhone to snap a photo. "This is so getting Instagrammed," she tells him, her fingers moving quickly over the screen.
"You wanna marry me?"
Her filter choice is immediately forgotten as she whips around to stare at him. With a nervous smile, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a little black velvet box.
"Oh my God," she says. She looks from the box to his face, her eyes wide. "Are you serious right now?"
He laughs. "Yeah, I'm serious." Thrusting the box toward her he says, "Here, open this."
Mindy takes the box with shaky fingers and opens it to reveal a platinum ring, two rows of small diamonds surrounding a larger one in the middle. It's her, and it's perfect.
"So?" he breathes. He bounces on his toes.
She grins widely at him. "Are you kidding? Yes! Of course!"
The words are barely out of her mouth before he kisses her, crushing her against him while she wraps her arms around his neck. Behind them, people start cheering, and they break apart to look around at everyone.
While Danny's nodding a thanks to the crowd, she pulls back from him and takes the ring out of the box, slipping it onto her finger.
"Danny, this ring is amazing," she says, awed. She stares at him, her mouth agape. "I can't believe you took me to the Empire State Building and proposed with a Tiffany's ring. Like, what is my life?"
He grins. "Are you Meg Ryan right now or what?"
In response, she kisses him hard before pulling away, her hands on his face. "Just so you know, you even deigning to make that reference makes me love you like a thousand times more."
"Danny! Are you kidding me?"
He's pacing the room like a caged animal. "Um…" His voice cracks.
"You do this for a living!"
"For strangers!" His face is pale, and he breathes in and out like he's doing her lamaze exercises. "This is just… this is a little different."
Mindy curls her fingers in the starchy sheets. "What about all that real man crap you like to spout?" She picks up a water container and throws it at him, which he barely manages to dodge. "You're supposed to be telling me I look beautiful, you jerk!"
He drags his eyes over her and says, pitifully, "You… are so beautiful right –"
"Okay, you know what? Get out!"
His eyes get wide. "What? Seriously?"
"There's only room for one baby in this room, and it's the one that is coming out of me right now! Out!"
A nurse gently herds him to the door, and he only barely resists. He looks whiter by the second.
"I love you?" he offers in the doorway.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever, man." She looks down at the doctor by her feet. "Forget about him. Okay? Forget it. Let's do this."
"Are you sure?"
"It's fine. He's seen this a million times."
Before she can start pushing again, Morgan bangs the door open and tries to weasel his way past the nurse.
"Dr. L! Question: is it cool with you if I tape the birth for him? I happen to have a camera and a blank tape with me, and I am not afraid of getting all up in that."
"Ew, no, Morgan!" she cries, horrified. "Get out of here!"
He looks almost disappointed. "Are you sure?"
"Yes!" He goes to leave, and she calls out, "Wait a second, Morgan. Did he send you in here?"
"Oh, no," he says, waving off the question. "He's passed out by the nurses station."
"Oh my GOD."