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The Destruction of Ties

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During his first few weeks in White Collar Crimes, Danny took to keeping several lists. None of them were on paper, each kept entirely in his head, but the lists were there and he referred to them often, amending them as needed, added to them when warranted.

The first listed all the things he missed about New York. By the end of his second week the list had grown so long that he gave up trying to remember it. His second listed all the things he hated about working in White Collar Crimes. He still carries most of that list around in his head.

The third listed all of the reasons that getting involved with Martin was a bad idea. With the passing of time, Danny found himself removing items, each in turn, tossing them aside, stroking them out until, eventually, only one remained.

Martin's fashion sense.

Or more specifically, Martin's lack of fashion sense.

Alone, the reason wasn't enough to keep him from seeking Martin out, falling despite his best intentions, but occasionally Danny will find himself glancing across their desks, cringing in horror at the sight of Martin wearing checks with stripes and, on those occasions, Danny will find himself wondering exactly what it was he was thinking when he decided to overlook Martin's inability to match.

It comes to him on a Tuesday.

He's running late, their morning quickie not exactly quick and Danny knows there's no way he's going to make it home, change and still make it into work in time.

Martin suggests it, offering Danny access to his wardrobe and, surely, Danny thinks, Martin must have something decent to wear.

Upon opening Martin's closet, Danny realizes he's wrong.

He's met with the sight of tweed and polyester; colours that no sane person would ever wear, the entire closet organized by outfit, like Martin's planned his entire week and Danny spots the problem almost immediately.

Martin's ties.

Because the suits, on their own, are reasonable --nothing Danny would wear, but tasteful enough that Martin could pull them off-- but the ties, the ties are hideous; colours, textures, fabrics, patterns, everything so mind numbingly wrong that Danny actually shudders.

It's so bad that he contemplates calling Harold, preemptively making an excuse for his lateness because risking a reprimand seems a better option than wearing Martin's clothes.

He knows Harold won't understand, though --Harold's wardrobe twice as bad as Martin's and Danny doesn't think Harold will be even the least bit sympathetic to Danny's plight-- so instead he resigns himself to his fate, pulling out the least offensive outfit he can find and even then Danny's half expecting someone to steal his lunch money on principle alone.

They're halfway to work, Martin driving, Danny trying not to obsess over the fact that his pants don't quite cover his socks, when it occurs to him that he has an opportunity here. Obviously he can't just comment on Martin's taste in ties, expect Martin to replace his wardrobe just to make Danny happy, but Danny can do it for him, and, if he's stealthy enough, Martin probably won't even notice.

I

Coffee alone, apparently, is not enough to ruin a tie. At least, not according to Martin, who merely shook his head and suggested something about club soda when Danny accidentally dunked his --Martin's-- tie in his cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Obviously Danny will just have to try harder.

And try he does.

By the end of the day Danny's plan is well underway, Martin's tie now covered in coffee, cream, mustard and a little mayonnaise for good measure.

"God, Martin, I'm so sorry," Danny says, wiping absently at his --Martin's-- tie, trying not to grin when the action only serves to worsen the stain.

"Seriously, Danny, don't worry about it. I have other ties," Martin replies, brushing the whole thing off and Danny smiles his thanks, silently thinking not for long.

II

Martin has exactly thirteen ties --fourteen before the incident with the coffee/cream/mustard and mayonnaise-- Danny knows; he's counted.

Thirteen ties, a seemingly impossible task of replacing them all, but Danny's more than willing to try, twelve replacement ties currently sitting on top of his dresser, one tucked into his coat pocket for emergencies and the fourteenth Martin is currently examining in the dim light his living room.

"You really didn't have to," Martin tells him, but he's smiling, obviously pleased with Danny's purchase and maybe, Danny thinks, Martin really is capable of good taste.

It's a nice tie, anyway, plain and simple, perfectly suited to match any of Martin's shirts and Danny spent hours last night shopping, picking it --along with thirteen others-- out. He only feels a little bad for skipping his AA meeting to do it.

"I figured I should replace the one I accidentally destroyed last week," Danny explains, Martin laughing, once again shrugging the entire thing off and, this, Danny thinks, is way too easy.

He's not going to complain, though, Martin draping the tie over the back of his armchair before stepping into Danny's space, leaning forward to press their lips together.

They've been dating --although, Danny's not quite sure the term quite encompasses what they've been doing-- for going on five weeks now, long enough that Danny now feels completely at ease around Martin, short enough that Danny's toes still curl every time Martin kisses him.

They're curling now, his toes that is, his entire body humming as Martin deepens the kiss, tongue sliding into Danny's mouth and Danny finds himself absently seeking out the tie that Martin's wearing, tugging until Martin presses that much closer, Danny's hand trapped between them as he urges Martin to follow him into the bedroom.

He likes Martin's apartment; the entire place warm, filled with books and odd knickknacks that Danny never would have suspected Martin to own. They make navigating Martin's hallway challenging, but Danny's getting used to the layout of Martin's apartment, easily avoiding the large vase that Martin has sitting on top of a table in the hall just inside his front door.

The don't quite make it to the bedroom, Danny struck with a sudden idea and before Martin can protest, Danny's dragging him into the bathroom, ignoring Martin's whimpered protest when Danny breaks away long enough to start the shower.

"We're showering?" Martin asks the second Danny does, arching an eyebrow, Danny glancing over his shoulder to smirk.

"I like you wet," is all Danny says, the explanation self explanatory and when Martin blushes Danny knows he understands.

He starts stripping, anyway, slipping out of his pants and underwear and Danny's two steps ahead of him, reaching for Martin's tie, dragging him forward, into a kiss that once again curls Danny's toes and Martin seems to enjoy it too, not complaining when Danny urges him forward, over the lip of the tub and into the shower, Danny fully dressed, Martin in nothing but his shirt and his tie and Danny smiles at the thought of killing two birds with one stone.

He's never been a fan of Martin's lavender shirt with the paisley flowers.

In fact, removing it from the equation is almost worth Danny having to replace his own suit.

III

And okay, making out in the photocopy room probably isn't the best of plans; because anyone could walk in, at any moment, and while they're not exactly hiding their relationship, they haven't exactly been open about it either.

Still, it serves Danny's purpose, and has the added benefit of allowing Danny to make out with Martin at work.

"I think it's stuck," Martin says, breath coming out in laboured gasps, face flushed red from exertion and Danny tells himself not to laugh.

"Stop pulling. You need to give me some slack so that I can pull it out," Danny tells him, the entire situation almost comical and Danny's not quite sure how they're going to explain this one if someone does walk in on them.

"I can't give you slack. Every time I let up it slides that much further in," Martin replies, tone exasperated and this time Danny does laugh.

It's slight, the sound escaping despite his best intention to remain silent. Martin glances over his shoulder and glares.

"Okay, okay," Danny tells him, giving Martin his most reassuring look. "On three. One. Two. Three."

And somehow, despite all the laws of physics, with Danny pulling and Martin pushing, they manage to free Martin's tie from the paper shredder.

Or, rather, what's left of it.

IV, V

Martin, Danny is quickly discovering, has a kinky side.

And, okay, technically this was Danny's idea, Danny practically having to beg, but eventually Martin gave in, going so far as to give Danny his credit card and six to eight business days later --it was actually seven-- their package arrived, Martin's eyes glazing over at the sight and Danny knew, even without asking, that Martin's initial protests were in vain.

In fact, Martin seems more than comfortable with the idea of adding toys to their routine, Danny currently sprawled across Martin's bed, held secure to the headboard by a pair of Martin's ties --Danny's suggestion-- Martin between his legs, eyes still glazed, skin flushed, sweat beading against his forehead as he slowly --ever so slowly-- pulls until another bead slips out of Danny's body.

Danny mews and arches his hips, Martin apparently liking the sound, sliding another out that much slower and Danny finds himself sending up silent thanks for online sex stores that deliver in nondescript brown packages.

They each picked something out, Martin (predictably) choosing a slim, slightly curved dildo, Danny deciding on anal beads, Martin currently pulling the last one free and Danny knows he's going to ask Martin to do it all over again before he finally gives in and begs Martin to fuck him.

And he will beg, that much Danny is sure of, because Martin begged yesterday --after Danny made him come twice with Martin's new toy and Danny's still ridiculously proud of that-- so it's only fair that Danny does the same.

Not yet, though, because Martin seems to know exactly what Danny wants, sliding the last bead free, glancing up only long enough to make eye contact, Danny nodding and then Martin's sliding the beads back inside, Danny's entire body trembling with the sensation.

He's straining too, body arching off the bed, hips twisting, elbows locking and the sound of fabric ripping is almost music to his ears.

Martin freezes, beads only half inside and...

"Oh, God, please don't stop," Danny hears himself say, tone almost desperate and when Martin doesn't move, Danny opens his eyes to glare.

"You ripped my ties, both of them," Martin tells him, the words accusing and Danny's half tempted to pull until they give way entirely.

"Nnn..." is what he gets out, the sound meant to be a promise to replace them, but the words won't form.

Martin's still looking at him, expression incredulous and Danny's half afraid he's going to put the pieces together. Danny's not about to let that happen, so he bucks up, pushing himself further down the bed in the process, inching that much closer to Martin and Martin seems to clue in to what they were doing.

He slides the rest of the beads inside, anyway, just a little too hard, a little too forceful and Danny's eyes roll into the back of his head before he collapses down, head still swimming when Martin slowly starts pulling back, popping out each bead in turn.

By the time they're done, Danny's come three times. Martin's complained about his ruined ties four.

VI

There's a reason, Danny suspects, for those little tags on the inside of ties that tell people not to dry them.

Not that Danny bothered reading it --it's easier to feign ignorance when it's genuine-- the tie that Martin left on his floor the night before tossed in with the rest of Danny's wet laundry, Danny walking away, returning half an hour later to a tie better suited for a small child.

Six down and eight to go and Danny's doing well.

VII, VIII

It's all a tragic accident.

Really.

Because Danny didn't mean to open Martin's closet. Or knock two of his ties down onto the floor. And he certainly didn't mean to drop the glass of water he was carrying, glass shattering on impact, scattering across Martin's hardwood floors and when Martin called out from his place in the kitchen, asking what happened, Danny told him not to worry about it and asked where Martin kept his vacuum cleaner.

Vacuums, apparently, will eat ties just as well as glass.

IX

He's running out of convincing ways to eliminate Martin's ties. There are six left and, aside from tossing them all away, feigning innocence when Martin asks, Danny has no idea what to do with them.

The six remaining aren't the worst in Martin's collection, Danny having ranked them according to ugliness, destroying the worst offenders first until all that remained were the slightly faded, slightly outdated, but reasonably respectable ones. Still, next to the eight Danny's replaced, they're hideous.

Which means they have to go, Danny decides, Martin showing up on Monday morning in one of his old ties --late for the first time in all the time Danny's known him and Danny's rather proud that he's the cause-- Danny frowning, suddenly very much aware that his cause is a worthwhile one.

Four hours into their day, Martin makes Danny's job easier.

He suggests they head out to Pike Place after work, pick up some fresh produce and actually stay in tonight, cook dinner for once rather than ordering in and Danny smiles and promises to teach Martin how to cook pollo frito a la criolla before silently wondering if he can somehow set Martin's tie on fire without injuring Martin.

Six hours later, Danny discovers that, yes, in fact, he can.

X

They're in San Francisco, of all places --and Danny still finds that entirely too amusing-- their case coming to a close, their flight still three hours out, when Danny pulls their rental car into the alley next to their hotel, glances across the car and asks Martin if he's ever had sex in the backseat of a Chevy Impala.

Martin laughs, his laughter fading the second he realizes Danny's serious and then he blushes, stammering something about public places and is Danny crazy?

"Relax, it's dark," Danny tells him, leering suggestively and the second Martin swallows Danny knows he'll agree.

He's not surprised, then, when ten minutes later they end up in the backseat, the car not quite as roomy as the guy at the rental car counter claimed, Danny pressed between Martin and the car door, body half falling into the foot well, but Martin's grinding against him, lips pressed against Danny's neck, so Danny doesn't complain.

And later, he doesn't complain about having to rush to make their flight, Danny smiling to himself, the imagine of Martin's tie wedged between the backseat and the door of the rental car still fresh in his mind, Martin too flustered to notice and by the time he does, they're thirty-thousand feet in the air, halfway back to Seattle and Danny tells him, apologetically, that the tie is gone for good.

XI, XII, XIII

One gets sent to the cleaners and never returns. Danny doesn't tell Martin that he forgot to pick it up, instead suggesting that the guy behind the counter was likely a pervert who recognized the stain immediately and decided to keep the garment for a souvenir.

Horrified, Martin demanded that they switch dry cleaners.

One Danny accidentally gets caught in Martin's garbage disposal, Danny once again forced to wear Martin's clothes --and really, he should probably look into moving his clothes over to Martin's apartment, considering how often Danny spends the night-- and, aside from nearly choking to death, Danny considers it one of his better methods.

A third is lost to ink, Martin borrowing Danny's pen --after Danny stole all of Martin's and hid them away in a drawer-- Danny neglecting to tell him it leaked and soon Martin was covered pretty much head to toe in ink.

All of this happens on a Tuesday.

XIV

Martin's hidden his last tie. Danny can't find it anywhere, anyway, so he can only assume that Martin knows.

It has to be obvious, at this point, so Danny's not surprised that Martin's trying to save the last of his collection. Danny will find it, though, and when he does...

"Danny, have you seen my tie? The one with the stripes?" Martin asks from the bedroom, Danny giving up his search of the laundry hamper, making his way down the hall before peering around the corner, taking in the sight of Martin staring into his closet.

"Shredder incident, remember," Danny tells him, Martin glancing over, expression crestfallen and Danny swallows the urge to feel guilty.

He tells himself this is for the greater good, for the good of mankind, because no one should be subjugated to having to look at that particular tie.

"Oh, right," Martin replies, falling to his knees, riffling through the bottom of his closet and...

Shit.

The last tie. The final piece in Danny's quest and Danny's fingers actually twitch.

"My aunt gave me that tie, before I moved to Seattle," Martin tells him, glancing over then, making eye contact and Danny's throat constricts. "It was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen, but she meant well."

And Danny has no idea what to say to that. Martin doesn't give him the chance to figure it out, pushing himself to his feet before looping the tie in his hand around his neck.

"My dad gave me this one, on the day I graduated from the Academy," Martin says, tying a perfect knot and Danny can't help himself.

"I'm sorry," he says, genuinely meaning it, wishing more than anything that he could go back in time, stop himself from destroying Martin's memories.

"For what?" Martin asks, but it's obvious that he knows; obvious too that he wants to give Danny the out.

Danny shakes his head and takes it. Decides that Martin can keep the tie he's currently wearing.

Danny will just have to learn to live with the sight of purple diamonds on aqua blue. Besides, it's not all bad; the blue does bring out Martin's eyes.

Eyes that are suddenly a lot closer, Martin stepping into Danny's space, holding Danny's gaze for half a heartbeat before leaning forward, kissing the side of Danny's mouth and when he pulls back he's smiling.

"I like the ties you gave me too," he says, smile shifting to a grin and, in that moment, Danny knows he's forgiven.