Writing The Mindy Project for Remix Madness clearly unlocked something for me - here's my second TMP fic, and a third is coming soonish. Danny and Mindy are so inspirational together. Mm-hmm. This story was prompted by Danny's paraphrase in 2x22 of the "I'll have what she's having" line from When Harry Met Sally . . .: "I'll order whatever gave her an orgasm!" (Also, Danny indicating that he's an Audrey Hepburn fan.) My thanks to blithers for the fast, enthusiastic, and thoughtful beta!
All the real movie quotes are in alt-text over the ones Danny comes up with, but here they are in one chunk:
1 - WESTLEY: This is true love. You think this happens every day? [The Princess Bride]
2 - BABY: I carried a watermelon. [Dirty Dancing]
3 - KEITH: You look good, wearing my future. [Some Kind of Wonderful]
4 - HAWKEYE: I'm looking at you, miss. [Last of the Mohicans]
4.5 - JOE: Suits you. You should always wear my clothes. / ANN: It seems I do. [Roman Holiday]
5 - RICK: Here's looking at you, kid. [Casablanca]
"He's Going Off-Book (Five Movie Lines Danny Botched)"
1 - The Princess Bride
There are times when all she needs is one perfect movie, two amazing people falling crazy in love in one hundred efficient but still dreamy minutes. And then there are the times when she needs more. A whole season's worth of a TV show is the perfect thing to loll around watching as she recovers from this terrible cold she got waiting around for Jackass Andy, who came this close to ruining the Empire State Building for her. Especially when it's a show that understands momentum, like, don't spend seven episodes keeping the audience in suspense about who that lady's babydaddy is. Just have it happen so that even more amazing stuff can happen in the next episode.
Danny, of course, sits through season one of The O.C. like he's being tortured; his arms are folded tightly over his chest, and he's wearing a frown that stays carved in place even with all the bikini bods cavorting on her laptop screen. He doesn't even ask her to pause it when he gets up to get her more homemade soup and crackers, like he couldn't care less that Summer Roberts is totally her spirit animal; no one spits out an "ew" like that girl does. Petite, sassy brunettes unite!
She makes her voice as raspy as possible, to remind him that she's sick and he should be falling into line with her plans more enthusiastically. "Are you not enjoying yourself?" Her cough starts out fake but turns real as her throat starts to burn.
He picks up the glass of ginger ale and turns the bendy straw toward her. "It's fine, don't get excited." She frowns but sips, daintily, of course. "If you're feeling up to it, you can tell me what's so great about this show. Because I don't get it."
"Of course you're not feeling it!" she says, exasperated, nearly knocking the glass out of his hand with an emphatic gesture totally appropriate to the situation. "You keep leaving at the good parts and only come back whenever the sucky people are onscreen. Marissa is a huge timesuck, and Oliver is even worse. They should have just let him kill her and let Ryan bang his way through The Harbor School – students, parents, and staff." She sighs, contemplating the lost possibilities. "It could have been so great, Danny. But even as it stands, it's a totally aspirational show, one that was very important to me in my formative years."
"How can they be aspirational when they're all younger than you? They're children! Dumb, rich children in high school!" Danny shouts, somehow keeping the straw steady even as the volume of his voice climbs and his Staten accent peeks through.
"Because they know what it's like to fall in love," she says, skipping until she gets to the scene where Seth climbs on top of the kiss-sale booth, makes his big speech, and extends his hand to Summer. She sighs happily, and Danny gives her a raised eyebrow.
"Okay, that was ni– no, don't rewind it!" he says. He harrumphs but he sits through the scene again in silence. "Kid couldn't even get up on the table, did you see that? I bet he couldn't do one single pull-up."
"The point, Danny, is that it's a big, romantic gesture."
"Even from a little pipe-cleaner like that kid?" He waves a dismissive hand. "It should at least be from a real man."
"Okay," she says, fixing him with a piercing look. "Like who? Dirty Harry?"
"Uh," he says, and it looks like he's sweating all of a sudden. He's not meeting her gaze, and she can see his eyes darting everywhere. They land on the case of her Princess Bride 25th Anniversary DVD, still out because she hadn't wanted to move after they'd watched it yesterday (Danny made a great pillow), and he blurts out, "Westley!"
He gets off the bed and picks up the DVD case. "'This is true love,'" he says, and she sits up a little straighter. Is Danny actually going to get a quote from one of her favorite movies right? Alert the media! "'You think this happens all the time?'" he says, beaming proudly like he didn't just botch that up.
Not a closer, that Castellano.
2 & 3 - Dirty Dancing & Some Kind of Wonderful
Okay, so maybe he is a closer. Who knew Danny could get it together enough to kick away all of his (totally stupid) doubts and do something so amazing that it eclipsed every single scene she'd ever sighed over?
And he's not showing signs of slowing down, either. Every day it's like he wants to prove to her all over again that he loves her, that he's ready to win her, and it is hotter than she'd ever suspected he could be. (Honestly, it was Danny, he of the plaintive Elmer Fudd voice and the monkey-god face. He had to be some kind of wizard, making all of that add up to the sexiest man she's ever known.) But he kisses her like he'll die if he doesn't, and he's fun in bed – sometimes reverent, sometimes savage, always game.
He's making her dangerously happy.
It's weird, not having her subway buddy (who now frankly palms her ass every chance he gets, and so maybe she prefers standing to snagging a seat these days) with her, but she's got an early appointment with some kind of insane powerbroker who says she can only move around so many meetings, and if Dr. Lahiri would be accommodating of her need for a seven a.m. appointment, she'd be most appreciative (she says it the super-haughty ahPRISHahtive way, and there's really no arguing with that). So Mindy'd sucked it up and left Danny, all hot and rumpled and making totally unfair happy-sleepy noises, sprawled across their bed, rolling over to his belly when she turned on the light and it's like he was trying to make her late, because his skin is gorgeous and those shoulders are works of art.
It's a whole different crowd on the subway this early. More people heading to or getting off from shift work, fewer students, more people in power suits all reading newspapers like those are even still a thing. There's a lot less music blaring from people's earbuds, which kind of sucks, because now that she's not out at clubs and bars so much, that's how she's been keeping up with what's hot.
The woman next to her is wearing stripes when she should be wearing polka dots, but at least she's not getting newsprint all over her hands. Instead, she dives into her leather tote and pulls out an iPad mini and earbuds, and come on, the size of these seats means they're practically in each other's laps, so it's not like the porn that starts playing on the screen can legitimately be ignored. Mindy wastes about ten seconds deciding between pleased and scandalized before she realizes it's not porn after all. It's one of those online courses that people take around retirement age, when they're old enough to remember school as the best time of their lives. This one's either about famous gay people, art history, or Italy, considering the amount of time that camera's been perving on Michelangelo's David. But the dude's got basically a baby carrot down there, so it's probably not about gay people's contributions to various cultures – oh, wait, now the camera's focusing on David's face (decent) and hands (nicely veined, and big, so how come Michelangelo stiffed him where it counted?). Danny's a little like that – big hands for his height – though at least the size of them isn't just a tease in his case.
Thinking about Danny's strong hands makes the rest of her commute fly by.
Danni's visit right after school lets out for the summer doesn't slow down their bonefest, but it does get Danny to be more creative. Whatever the man-word for vixen is, he's that, and seriously, if all of this energy really is the result of his old-man health-food diet, then maybe she should look into that.
At the end of the week, they take Danni to see the New York Red Bulls play soccer in New Jersey, despite the name, and the kid lights up and says it's the highlight of her visit. Mindy disagrees; not only was David Beckham not in the stands, but the real cuteness happens later, when they're back in Tribeca and Danni's yawning into her burger. Danny carries his sister into the elevator and murmurs that it's good she's getting to sleep at a decent time, since her flight's early in the morning, and the smile he's giving her closed eyes and half-open mouth is basically melting Mindy's panties off.
Mindy tackles him to the bed once he's got his sister settled in her room and rides him fast and hard until his eyes are rolling back in his head and he's listing saints in this choked voice that is just ridiculous.
She loves him even more in the morning, when he stands behind his sister, who's scarfing down more than her fair share of his pancakes (chocolate-chip this time), and proves that he's basically a braid savant. Seriously. Mindy knows braids, and the man is a master. He keeps coming up with ways to surprise her.
The zoning board exists only to give her grief, she's convinced of it. Like, wouldn't they rather have the wall between the two apartments knocked down by professionals? Though it would be like the cutest prison movie ever if she and Danny, each armed with a spoon, started tunneling through on opposite sides and then one day caught a glimpse of each other and freedom.
Danny keeps sleep-talking about bulldozers, which comes out supercute in his sleepy mumble, and she drops kisses on his bicep. They're back in her old place, with the doors and windows locked like they're in some hotbed of crime, but Danny had looked so hot and forceful slamming everything shut.
She kind of can't wait to move into their new place – over three thousand square feet is nothing to sneeze at in Tribeca – and convince Danny that a little color won't kill him.
"Danny and I are having a housewarming-slash-solstice party this Friday night," Mindy says. She waited until everyone's putting in lunch orders with Betsy to spring the news, because she has better things to do than track everyone down for RSVPs.
That includes following Danny to his office and calmly discussing with him what they'll be serving at this party he just found out about. It's supposed to get past ninety on Friday, and no one's going to want whatever cheese and meat and sauce thing Danny wants to cook (except her, but that'll be her reward for a night of flawless hostessing). "Let's just get sushi in from that place on Prince, and some sorbets and stuff. Things that will keep everybody cool."
"It's not summer until you've had your first bite of watermelon," Danny says, unexpectedly helpful.
She can totally picture him as a kid, chubby little face buried in a thick slice, spitting seeds into some dirt lot in the dusty depths of Staten Island. She and Rishi had had seed-spitting contests off the front porch, half-convinced that watermelons would start growing and take over their front yard. If there'd been a guarantee that Indiana Jones would show up to hack through the vines, she would have eaten watermelon morning, noon, and night. "Agreed," she says, and Danny tilts his head back for a kiss, his neck going long and taut and biteable. She bends down, still smiling.
"Actually, I just was reading about watermelon and rosemary being the hot new combo, so maybe we could make a signature drink for the party?"
He's manifestly unimpressed, and you'd think he'd learn to pick his battles. "Where did you read that?"
"Vegetarian Times," she says, truthfully. It's not like she saw the name of the magazine when she swiped it from the Deslauriers' mail. She doesn't like the judgy-judge tone of all the smirking vegetarians who write in with their, like, composting tips and how to sneak broccoli into brownies, but the column on flavor trends is pretty good.
"You're just full of surprises," Danny says, standing up to pin her against his desk.
The party's in full swing, and Danny's a little fidgety despite the impenetrable barrier he's built around his precious piano. Betsy shows up in a dress she said she didn't have time to finish making; it's basically a slamming sleeveless minidress and Jeremy keeps turning to keep her in his peripheral vision. Mindy smiles at the two of them – so dumb, so cute – and sips her pink cocktail. Danny comes up behind her, a wall of heat, and snakes an arm around her to grab a glass of his own.
She clinks their glasses together. "I think they turned out great," she says, but then the temptation to quote the line becomes overwhelming. She spins in his arms and licks away some stray pink salt from the edge of his luscious mouth. "I car –"
"I know, I know," he says, leaning down to drop an open-mouthed kiss on her for no reason whatsoever. "You carried some watermelons."
The detritus from the party's mostly been cleaned up, and while Danny has some sort of spiritual reunion with the piano, she's in the bathroom in her thinnest little white cotton nightie, brushing her teeth and trying not to sweat from the exertion. There's no way she can sleep with her hair down on her neck tonight, not when she's got a heat-generating octopus in bed with her, so she scrubs at her face and then brushes her hair out, ready to braid it up.
Danny appears silently behind her then, wearing only his pinstriped pajama pants, and takes over for her. He's meeting her gaze in the mirror, but he's not smiling like he usually would be. "Dan –" she starts to say before he cuts her off.
"Where's the elastic?" he asks, and she looks around his pristine bathroom like one will spontaneously appear next to the sink. "I'll look, just hold the end, would you?"
She reaches her left hand behind to grab the end of the braid, still futilely opening drawers with her right. She hopes he's not going to get a rubber band – wait, he's not moving, and there's something cold touching her hand and his eyes are looking at her, not her reflection, but she can still see that they are blazing.
"Danny?" she asks, turning and letting go of her hair, and there, on her finger, is a ring. Danny's ring. He put a ring on her finger.
That sneaky fucker.
No, but she sees that he's trembling, that he keeps opening his mouth to speak but can't, and his skin is cool when she touches him. Only Danny would be cold in the middle of a heatwave. "I'm a foregone conclusion, huh? A sure thing?" she asks, trying to get him back to her instead of off in whatever nightmare realm he's trapped in. "Danny," she says, kissing along his clavicles, fingers curling around his biceps. She slides her hands up his arms to his neck, her fingertips brushing the soft edge of his hairline. He's still unresponsive.
"Okay," she says, breathing the words into that hollow just below his Adam's apple, "here's what you're going to do. You're going to kiss me, you're going to fuck me, and you're going to marry me. Got it?"
And then he snaps, hauling her into him so fast she's got whiplash, and even as he's devouring her mouth his eyes are still blazing; she curls her legs around his bare waist when he starts marching toward their bed.
"Please," he says between bites and kisses, "please."
In the morning, he's ready for her. She's still blinking awake when he's got his lips pressed against the back of her hand. "Hey," he says, smiling down at her, "you look good, wearing our mortgage."
Before she can point out that Eric Stoltz was in high school and had no mortgage, he's kissing her into the happiest silence she's ever known.
4 - Last of the Mohicans
Danny's super-sweatiness means that they can't hold hands without her getting all clammy, and anyway he insists that they be courteous to other pedestrians and not form a unified block that everyone else has to squeeze by on the sidewalk; she's been cranky at moony-eyed idiots often enough that she gets what he's saying even though she still thinks she should totally be allowed to pass her terrible sidewalk karma forward. She settles for linking pinkies with him when the sidewalks are crowded and letting him drape his arm around her when they've got more room to meander.
They're in some park somewhere (not that she's seen a hot-dog cart anywhere, and aren't they supposed to be basically rest stops so you don't starve to death in a park that doesn't have street signs? how terrible would it be if Danny starved to death on his birthday?) and the foliage is breathtaking, the same fiery oranges and yellows that glow on her When Harry Met Sally . . . poster. Danny's arm has slipped down from her shoulders to across her back, and his hand has found its happy spot between her hip and her ass. She's wearing her new beret and feeling très chic, and Danny's rocking a leather jacket and his softest, most threadbare jeans; she slips her hand into his back pocket and gives him a bit of a squeeze.
He stops turning down all of her ideas for couples' costumes for Halloween (would they or would they not be awesome as Sandy and Danny from Grease? she'd even take Rizzo and Kenickie) and just looks over at her. The look on his face is so pure, so simply happy, that she stops talking and smiles back. They've both stopped walking, and they're just grinning like dopes at each other, and there are joggers whizzing by them and the far-off sounds of honking and sirens and chatter.
Danny's expression has gone from bliss to intensity – he has secret smolder powers – and she feels inexplicably shy. "What are you looking at?" she asks, watching as a yellow leaf twirls and comes to rest on top of her new boot. She raises her eyes as high as his chest and reaches out to hold each side of his jacket, the metal of the zipper lines cool against her palms.
His hand comes up to her cheek, and she can meet his gaze. "I'm looking at you, Min."
4.5 - Roman Holiday
She's looking through the West Elm catalog, wearing Danny's old Staten Island Yankees shirt and a pair of plaid boxers that he gave up when he decided that briefs showed off his assets better – she mentally pencils in a time to throw out his tighty-whities because they make him look uncomfortably young and make her feel like a dirty old lady (but the tighty-blackies can stay) and buy those extra-soft boxer-briefs that she saw the other day, in colors like charcoal and midnight and aubergine, because hot damn would those look good on Danny's white ass – when Danny comes in all pink-cheeked (and -eared and -faced, because he still thinks running is worth it) and smiles at her.
"What?" she asks, folding down a corner of the page with the magenta throw-pillows. It's not like she's averse to being admired, but she does like it when there's a vocal element to the praise too.
Danny comes over, mopping his face with the hem of his t-shirt, and yes, she's aware of what his abs look like, but aware is different from very willing to be reminded, and bends down, dropping a kiss on the tip of her nose. "Suits you. You should always wear my clothes," he says, and then rocks back on his heels, his arms outstretched; it looks, for one crazy moment, like he's about to yell ta-da! and give her jazz hands.
"I will," she agrees, and his eyebrows, which were hopefully arched, come slowly down. "I'm super comfortable."
"You really –?" he starts, then smiles and shakes his head. "I'm gonna shower."
"Cool. I bought more of that menthol scrub you like. Get this: Bigelow still doesn't acknowledge that my customer loyalty should be rewarded with unlimited samples."
"They know you'll never wean yourself off that lotion."
"It's like crack, Danny, and there is no program for any of my addictions."
He surprises her with a proper kiss, and the smell of his sweat just reminds her of all the times she's drifted off to sleep with the same fragrance in their bedroom. She kisses back, then pushes him away. "Go, shower. We've got brunch in an hour."
"Where's my phone? I want to add something to my Netflix queue." He pokes at her thighs, like she's accidentally or maybe on purpose sitting on his phone just for kicks.
"Ugh, I don't have it, weirdo. And I wish I could just remember my streaming password. You are the last person in the universe to still wait for discs."
"Maybe," he says, grinning, "but there's no wait for most of my stuff these days. Guess everyone's fallen for the streaming thing, and so while they're all buffering, I'm watching my movies on my big-screen TV with my feet up."
"Ooh, ottomans!" she says, flipping back a few pages in the catalog. "Your phone's next to the lamp on your side," she reminds him.
"Aren't you getting ready for this thing?" he asks.
"You know I only need five minutes," she said, ignoring his snort. His first one. At the third, she asks sweetly, "Are you doing your bull impression again?"
"I don't even know who to blame for the fact that you obviously were never taught to tell time."
"Joke's on you, because no one still has analog clocks, old man." She wrinkles her nose up, as if he stinks and doesn't smell so tempting that she wants to drape herself all over him. "Smelly old man."
"I'm going, I'm going," he says, but she totally hears him tapping on his phone for a minute before getting in the shower.
She rolls her eyes when she sees bright red envelopes in the mailbox. Does Danny really not get that they are so completely passé, like last season's handbags? She stuffs all of the mail in her bag when her phone rings, and it's Rishi, calling to brag about his YouTube video going viral. Duh, of course it would – she's the one who did the wardrobe for it.
Danny gets home late. "The Bowman delivery," he says, laying his head in her lap.
"All good?" she asks, her fingers stroking through his luxuriously thick hair. Man, he's better than gloves for warming up cold fingers.
"Mmm, yeah. Just tired – the kid basically wrestled with me the whole time."
"I'm sure you were able to take the newborn," she says encouragingly, and smiles when he laughs into her thigh. "You want to just go to bed?"
"I don't want to get up, but I'm not really tired," he says. "Maybe a movie?"
"Oh, yeah, you got something from Netflix," she says, leaning over and stretching out her fingertips for her purse; it's just barely within reach, but she's persistent and drags it close. Ripping open the envelopes is kind of fun. "Okay, the first one is . . . nope, not doing that one."
"What?" he asks, turning his head, his hair catching on her jeans. She's almost positive he can't read upside-down, but just in case, she whisks Springsteen & I out of sight behind her back.
"And this one is Roman Holiday."
His face lights up, and she can't help giving him an MJ-to-Spidey upside-down kiss that he responds to fervently. How is he so good at making her feel loved?
"One of us is gonna have to get up and put the disc in," he says.
"Rock-paper-scissors," she says immediately. They both know he's going to throw rock, the dumbass, so she spreads her hand wide for paper.
"Alright," he sighs, and rolls off her, and now her lap is cold without his two-ton head to warm it up.
This movie is so old that it's in black and white, and it's totally weird to see Atticus Finch trying to mack on a princess. But Gregory Peck has a head of hair to rival even Danny's, so it's working on her, and it's got to be working on Danny, who basically makes eyes at Audrey Hepburn the entire time. Mindy's still trying to work out how a movie where they don't even kiss for ninety minutes is managing to hold her attention when her phone chimes. She silences it without even looking at the screen, snuggling closer to Danny. When the voicemail notification starts, he shifts a bit.
"Who was it?" he asks, still not dragging his gaze from the movie.
"Rohan," she says, because the ringtone was the Dropkick Murphys, and the only Boston guy in her phone is him. Danny just nods like this wouldn't have been a huge issue not that long ago, but before she can ask, she hears an awfully familiar line. It's Gregory Peck, looking all tall and handsome and giving Audrey Hepburn a sad-eyed smile, saying his robe suits her and she should always wear his clothes. And she says that she always does, and Mindy looks over at Danny, who's looking back at her.
"You did it," she says, still surprised. "You got a movie quote right." He grins. "How did you get this movie quote right?"
"I watched a lot of movies with my ma in my 'formative years,'" Danny says, "and I always paid attention to what Audrey Hepburn was saying."
"Perv," she scolds, though the thought of him bonding with his mother over movies made long before he was born is still pretty sweet.
"Quiet," he says, not denying a thing. "There's more." They sit tucked up together to finish the movie.
"How," she asks him, pummeling him with one of the magenta throw-pillows, "how could you not tell me they don't get together at the end? What kind of downer movies were you watching as an impressionable child?"
"What?" he protests. "It's a classic!"
"No, Danny, Magic Mike is a classic. This is just sad." She's valiantly ignoring the immature barfing gesture he makes when she mentions Soderbergh's last film.
"It's beautiful," he says. "They make a connection. That's more than a lot of people get."
She turns that over in her mind. He's right – look how long it took her to find someone that made her feel like she does and always will fit with him. And look what they've done together. "So what you're saying is, we're awesome?"
"Absolutely," he says, and they lean trustingly on each other all the way to bed.
5 - Casablanca
Danny's wearing his reading glasses – and being pregnant has totally turned her into a guy, because suddenly she's got sexy-librarian fantasies that she's never imagined before – and going through the bills methodically, which is in its own way a turn-on, her man the provider, except that she provides too, and he damn well knows it.
"Danny," she says, drawing his name out, just to get him to look at her over the tops of those ridiculous glasses, which by the way look exactly like his little sister's.
"Mindy," he says in exactly the same way, still balancing his checkbook like he lives in a world where online banking has yet to be invented.
"You're mocking the woman on whom you begat this twenty-pound child?" she asks, then pauses. "That's kind of a fun word to say. Begat, begat, begat. No wonder Jesus kept saying it in the bible."
"Je- no, never mind," he says, finally looking over at her. "Never mind that I learned to fake Sanskrit for you and then did it wearing nothing but flowers and a skirt."
"Oh, like you didn't know you were rocking that dhoti," she says dismissively. "Our wedding album is basically a thousand degrees of hot."
"Well," he says, tossing his pen aside, "I can't take all the credit."
It becomes very difficult but very important to breathe just then. Really? Is she that in love with him that a little compliment from him at a vulnerable time – she can't decide what's worse, the moonface or the fact that her shoes don't fit; at least her rings have been on a chain around her neck pretty much since the day after he slipped them on her finger, the better to scrub up – can dictate how much oxygen she's getting?
"Min?" he asks, urgent and alert. "Now?"
She was a genius for shacking up with an obstetrician. "Yes," she says with relief, realizing what's happening isn't all in her head, "now."
It's not like she remembers much of the birth itself, really just Danny's eyes burning into hers and his hand absolutely crushing hers and a feeling like her body was a ship caught in a whirlpool, so that there was a lot of activity going on that she couldn't exactly control, but she knows everything that must have happened. And she knows Danny would have made sure it all happened right.
His big hands are cradling their swaddled daughter, and he's baptizing the kid with his tears. When he bends down to lay Maya on her chest and give them each a kiss, Mindy sees that he looks wilder than he ever has wearing scrubs; his hair is a wreck and that tiny wayward curl that always feathers defiantly out of his sideburns has just gone haywire.
He looks like he owns the earth.
She knows how he feels.
And then he butchers an all-time classic. Drawing one reverent fingertip over the soft, sticky roundness of Maya's cheek while Maya just settles and closes her eyes, firmly ignoring both of them, Danny murmurs, "Here's looking at you, baby."
Seriously. Lucky for him he already got her to fall in love with him, because his quote game is weak.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.
This same entry also appears on Dreamwidth, at http://innie-darling.dreamwidth.org/440927.html.