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"You motherfucking fuckers fucked," Mark says, and it takes Porter a few moments to realize that there's a word missing at the end of that sentence, that this is a slightly different comment from Mark's usual 'walk right in and tell it like it is' comments.

It doesn't help that the season for pumpkin-spice lattes has come and gone; there's other types of coffee he likes, obviously, but the end of the pumpkin-spice season still seems to sneak up on him every year, to surprise him with the sudden absence of what has, by that time, become a central part of his morning rituals.

Thus, Danny gets there first, and blushes, which is - disgusting, Porter thinks with great determination, swallowing the -ly cute which has no place in thoughts about a co-worker who is, after all, quite good at his job, a co-worker, and a friend.

Vinny's next, staring first at Porter, who's keeping his cool (a state also known as: still clueless) then at Danny, who isn't.

"Oh, right," he says. "So that's what those dick pics were about. Well, glad we got that settled, I guess."

In Vinny's case, the state of keeping his cool is also known as not giving a fuck. Porter cherishes him for that, and for being a numbers guy who also speaks English and knows stuff about football. (Granted, some of it is very wrong, no good stuff, but if it allows Porter to take his money, Porter's okay with that. Besides, it's not as if Danny's any better.)

"We just had dinner," Danny says.

Porter sort of wants to tell him not to bother.

"In bed, naked." Mark raises his hands. "Don't tell me, I do not want to know."

"At a Cuban restaurant. Dressed. It was a date," Danny says. "And also, fuck you."

"No thanks." Mark grins. "Vinny, you owe me fifty bucks - and that is all I want to say or hear about it."

"You bet against us getting together?" Porter asks Vinny. "What the fuck."

Vinny shrugs. "He was offering good odds. 30-to-1."

"A sucker bet is still a sucker bet," Danny says. "You should have talked him into 40-to-1, at least."

Vinny shrugs again. "I already talked him up from 15-to-1. Besides, not like it would have made any difference, is it? Just - " a quick glance to confirm Mark's gone back to his part of the office " - gimme a heads-up when you guys are going to split, all right?"

"Fuck you, man."


Porter's never had what people call a nine-to-five mentality. Don't get him wrong, he gets it. He gets that for some people, it's nice to know that their day's split up in two parts: the part where they make some money, and the part where they enjoy themselves and spend that money.

First job, first firm, Porter met Mark. He figures that's when he got married to his job.

Then Mark set out on his own, and Porter followed him. Call him naive, but he figured that when the smartest guy in the office decides to get out, it's not a bad idea to tag along, see where it gets you.

Six months later, in walks Danny, and Porter realized that he'd just found a reason to file for divorce.


After that one outburst from Mark, nothing much changes at the office.

Porter already knows Danny's favorite afternoon snack, and how he likes his morning coffee, and what types of under-two-minute YouTube videos to send him - and which to send to Vinny, whose sense of humor is schewed just a tiny bit to the darker side of things.

He's not surprised to discover that Danny is a morning person.

He's a little surprised that it doesn't annoy him as much as he'd thought it would.


"You ever thought about doing something else?"

Porter isn't even sure why he asks. It's the weekend, and early, and he's just discovered that Danny will make the funniest expressions if someone touches his nose while he's asleep.

(Porter's not the kind of guy who'll wake someone up just for a morning quickie - well, not when that someone is Danny, anyway, but touching someone's nose while you're reaching for yesterday's newspaper that's on the nightstand on their side of the bed? It happens, man.)

"Like calling bullshit on your excuse for waking me up way too early just because you're feeling horny?" Danny asks.

"Like, I don't know, running a bed and breakfast?" Porter is fairly sure that he wouldn't like it himself. Too much customer contact. For some fucked up reason, people who've entrusted you with their money (and lots of it) tend to be considerably more polite than people who have yet to decide how much they'll tip you for serving their eggs just the way they like them.

"I like living in the city," Danny says. "And, I mean, I'm good at my job. Why switch to something I might not be as good at? Let's face it, it's not going to pay any better."

"When I grew up, I wanted to be a fireman. Then, for a while, I figured that I might make it as an athlete." From wanting to save people to wanting to impress them with his prowess.

"Olympic rowing team." Danny nods. "I Googled for videos. You looked real hot."

"Thanks for using the past tense there." Porter remembers feeling part of a team, feeling like he was out there, representing his country and all the people in it.

He remembers the crushing disappointment of not taking the gold, and the small part of him that blamed it on the rest of the team. Maybe that's how he ended up choosing this career, this job.

"At a guess, I'd say there's not a lot of money in professional rowing," Danny says.

Porter chuckles. "Nope. So how about you?"

"I think I wanted to be a fireman, too, for a while." Danny shrugs. "Then I got older and wiser."

"Aren't we great people?" Porter lets himself imagine it for a while: the two of them as firemen, heroically rescuing cats stuck up trees they had no business getting up in and people stuck in buildings they should have left the second the fire-alarm went off, instead of sticking around to finish their coffee, or grab something real quick from their desk.

"As the quote goes, it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it."

"We're still talking about firemen, right?" Porter doesn't imagine the pay is nearly as good, either.

"Obviously," Danny says. "I mean, what was it Mark said again? Fifteen thousand years or so without people doing what we do and having it turn out for the better?"

"This conversation is kind of not going in the direction I wanted it to go."

"It happens," Danny says, "when you're not, in fact, characters in a romantic comedy."

"I think we're too smart to be in a romcom." Porter can't remember the last time he went to see a movie. He's only vaguely aware of what's playing in theaters right now, mostly because when a movie doesn't do well at the box office, that might become relevant information.

"We could have gotten drunk-married in Vegas in a romcom."

Porter sort of likes that idea. On the other hand, he doesn't think Vinny and Mark would have ever let them live it down, and while Porter has no objection to a bit of mutual shit-talking, he'd prefer not to enter the fight at a disadvantage - inasfar as 'drunk-married to Danny' could be called that.

"You want to go and get some breakfast?"

"Run first, then breakfast." Danny jogs. Outside and everything.

Porter prefers to get his physical exercise indoors, where it never rains and where the risk of someone bumping into you and then yelling at you to watch where the fuck you're going is minimal.

One day, Danny might change his mind about that, but not today. "Fine. Wake me when you're back."