sub...text n. 1. The implicit meaning or theme of a literary text. 2. The underlying personality of a dramatic character as implied or indicated by a script or text and interpreted by an actor in performance. American Heritage Dictionary, Fourth Edition, 2000
It wasn't the longest day of the year, but it was the hottest, and the minutes crept by.
Dan lay on the couch in his office, stripped down to boxers and t-shirt, listening to the low-level hum of the air conditioner and counting the seconds until morning.
He was almost asleep when the lights flicked on. He jumped, startled, and saw Dana laying folders on his and Casey's desks.
"You're still here," he said as she reached the doorway.
She turned to face him. "You're not wearing any pants."
"I was sleeping."
Dana cocked her head, opened and closed her mouth. "Why are you sleeping here?"
"My air conditioner is shot, and I didn't have time to buy a new one today."
"You could have gone to Casey's."
"He had a date with Pixley."
He walked over to her, shut the lights. Her face was washed in the dim glow of streetlights and a silvery hint of the moon.
"Is that it, Dana?"
"Is what it?"
"You and Casey. Pixley. Sam. The Dating Plan. Is that it?"
She took a deep breath and exhaled loudly. "Yeah."
"I don't accept that."
"I don't think you have a say."
"Epic romances do not end with a whimper. A death scene, maybe, but not a whimper. They end with a bang."
"There was no bang, Dan. There was never going to be a bang. Casey and I never banged."
He slammed his hand down on his desk and Dana started. "Maybe if you had--"
"You were pulling for us." She leaned against the doorjamb, hugging her folders to her chest.
"I was, indeed."
She straightened up, but before she could leave, he said, "What about me?"
"What about you?"
He shrugged one shoulder, but couldn't keep the intensity out of his voice. "Have you ever wanted to throw me down on the conference table and have your wicked way with me?"
"Have my--" She shook her head, torn between bafflement and laughter. "No."
"No? I don't believe you."
"You don't have to believe me, but it's the truth."
"I'm an attractive man, Dana. I'm witty, charming and intelligent, and no slouch in the looks department. Plus, I'm on television every night. Chicks dig me."
"Indeed they do, Danny, but I never thought of you that way."
He shifted closer to her, put his hand on the doorjamb above her head, blocking her escape route with his body.
"Maybe you should start."
She laughed. "I think the heat's gone to your head."
"You really never thought of me--"
"I really never did." She touched his cheek. "You're Casey's. You always have been."
"Casey's? But he's not--"
"No," she said sadly, shaking her head. "He's not. But you two have subtext."
"Yes. You always have." She ran her thumb over the arch of his cheek.
"I always thought of you as Casey's."
"But I'm not."
"I think you are."
"Which is why we're having this conversation."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Sublimation, Dan. Look it up."
"Subtext, sublimation. You're all about words beginning with 'sub' tonight."
"Yes, I am."
He moved away, attempted to slide his hands into non-existent pockets, and remembered he was wearing only boxer shorts.
"Subtext," he repeated, tasting the word on his tongue.
"Lisa didn't leave him because of me."
"No. No, she didn't." He moved to the window, stared out into the night, her reflection a shadow on the glass, expression unreadable. "Is it obvious?"
"Only if you know what to look for. That's why it's subtext."
He looked back at her and nodded. "Good night, Dana."
She walked over to him, kissed his cheek gently. "Good night, Dan."
He lay awake most of the night, listening to the quiet hum of the air conditioner and counting the seconds until morning. He tried not to think about the sadness in Dana's eyes when she looked at him. Finally, he slept.
Achromatic: http://www.unfitforsociety.net/musesfool LJ: http://musesfool.livejournal.com
Please post a comment on this story.
Fandom: Sports Night
Title: Everybody Wants to Be Someone's Here
Author: Victoria P. [email]
Details: Standalone | G | 4k | 04/17/04
Summary: "Subtext, sublimation. You're all about words beginning with 'sub' tonight."
Notes: Thanks to Dot, Meg, Jen, and Pete/Melissa. From a first sentence given me by Your Cruise Director. Title from the Replacements' "Here Comes a Regular."
Disclaimer/Other: All Sports Night characters belong to Aaron Sorkin and other folks who are not me.
Archive: Lists, Achromatic.
Feedback: Would be lovely.
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