Rotational Axis
by Stellaluna

Flack is pretty sure that he can feel the Earth rotating beneath his feet. He's fascinated by this phenomenon, but he's not a hundred percent certain that it's really happening; sometimes he can feel the spin and sometimes everything seems to be normal. To test the theory, because he's been hanging out with the nerd squad for plenty long enough by now that he knows all about the need for testing a hypothesis, he thinks what he'd have to do is stand very, very still and hold his arms out for balance, and then concentrate on what's going on. Preferably with his eyes closed.

The only problem is that concentration is a difficulty right now, as is standing still, for that matter. If it's not him getting distracted all on his own or losing his footing -- then again, that right there might indicate he's right, because his coordination is shot to shit right now -- it's Danny making some comment or yelling "Fore!" and either way, he just can't get the few seconds of quiet he needs.

Then again, he thinks, Messer's got a golf club in his hand, so maybe this isn't the world's premium best time to be closing his eyes anyway.

He opens them in a hurry once that occurs to him (a little too much of a hurry, maybe, but that was a definite spin that time, he's sure of it), and surveys the situation. Danny is squinting down the fairway with his club slung casually over his shoulder, muttering under his breath. Flack catches the words, "...incline is at an angle, but if you factor in the wind drag and relative temperature..."

"Messer, what are you babbling about?" Flack asks.

Danny glances over at him. "Trying to figure out how to get my ball in the hole, of course," he says.

Flack laughs. "I could show you that," he says, the words tripping out of his mouth without him even having to think about it.

"Yeah, I'm sure you could do that," Danny says with a smirk. "But this here is...I'm talking physics, my friend. That's a whole different ball game."

"This ain't the geek Olympics, Messer, so quit it with the CSU party line." Flack takes a swig from the Thermos he's carrying, and the vodka goes down his throat nice and easy. Perfect.

"Party line?" Danny lets out a scoffing sound. "It's just plain common sense."

"That's the problem with you dweebs. Can't do nothing without trying to turn it into some kinda science fair project. You can't apply physics to a fucking golf game."

"Actually, yeah, you can," Danny says. "Of all the games in the world, golf is probably the one that you can most apply physics to. Well, that and baseball. It's all very scientific."

Flack rolls his eyes. "Don't go getting all Bull Durham on me, either. Your science bullshit won't do you a bit of good right now."

Danny bends down and picks up the Thermos that's sitting at his feet and takes a drink. "Says you."

"Goddamn right, says me." Flack walks over to him. It's only a couple of feet, but he's pleased when he manages to make it without falling down. "Look," he says. "Forget your physics. All you gotta do is shut up, swing the club, and hit your ball through the center of that little lighthouse. Think you can manage that, Mr. Wizard?"

"Piece'a cake," Danny says. He lifts the Thermos to his mouth again. Flack watches him swallow, his throat working, and then wipe off his mouth with the back of his hand. "Okay. Ball. lighthouse. No problem." Danny studies the scene, taking a few practice swings. The club makes a soft whistling noise as it slices through the air.

"Any day now, Messer. Not like it's getting dark or anything."

"That's what the floodlights are for," Danny says, then takes an abrupt swing. To Flack's surprise, the club actually connects with the golf ball. For all the force Danny's put into the move, though, the ball stops a good foot short of the lighthouse. Flack laughs.

"Yeah, you're a regular pro," he says.

"And the horse you rode in on," Danny tells him. He scoops up his Thermos and goes over to the ball for his second swing. Flack has a strong urge to shout something out just as Danny is about to take his swing and cause him to miss, which is what Danny did to Flack on the first six holes, but he refrains. After all, he thinks, and takes another drink, not like Messer can't fuck this up all on his own.

Five putts later, Danny has finally managed to get the ball through the lighthouse. "See?" he says. "All 'bout physics."

"Yeah, that's why you got such a high fucking score already," Flack says, and steps up for his turn.

"What is my score?" Danny asks.

Flack pauses, and pats his pockets, searching for the score card. He can't remember writing anything down. "Thought you were keeping score," he says after a fruitless search.

"Me?" Danny laughs. "Shit, no. You were in charge of that."

"Was not," Flack says, even though he's pretty sure Danny is right.

"Was too. You forgot, didn't you?"

"I didn't fucking forget. And it don't matter, anyway, 'cause I know what the score is. I'm winning." Flack grins at him. "So put that one in your pipe and smoke it."

Danny snorts, but then Flack manages to get his ball through in only two strokes, and Danny doesn't say another word until they're walking to the next hole. It really is starting to get dark now, twilight sliding toward full-on night, and Flack is absolutely convinced now that he can genuinely feel the Earth's rotation. This is an interesting phenomenon, because it must mean that somehow his normal range of senses have been improved or ramped up a notch or something. It doesn't seem like Danny has noticed it, after all, because for sure he would have commented on it if he had, so it must be just him.

He wouldn't mind it, exactly, he decides, if only it didn't feel like it keeps on reversing direction every few seconds, because he didn't ever know the Earth could do that. Isn't it supposed to go in all one direction all the time? Danny would probably know, but he's not about to ask, because clearly Danny isn't privy to this new development, and he'd just come up with some sarcastic crack.

"Question for you," Danny says, interrupting these musings.

Flack concentrates on putting one foot in front of the other. "Yeah," he says.

"This ain't exactly what I had in mind when I said we should play a few rounds of golf," Danny says. He stops walking and stands at the edge of the putting green, and waves a hand at the set-up. This one involves a winding path and then a little bridge, and Flack wonders how the hell either of them is ever going to actually get the ball into the hole.

"You said we should play a few rounds," Flack says. "We are."

"I said golf," Danny says. "I did not say mini golf. I know I didn't say that I wanted to come all the way out to Long Island in the middle of March to smash balls into a clown's mouth."

Flack presses a hand to his heart. "Messer, that's crude even for you," he says. "I'm hurt. And if you call me a clown again, you're gonna be fishing your fucking teeth out of that pond over there."

Danny laughs so hard that he drops his club and almost drops his drink. Flack watches this, grinning. Danny finally gets himself under control, by degrees, and then stands up straight. "Seriously," he says. "What the fuck? I say golf, you decide on this? What gives?"

Flack shrugs. "Golf's for a bunch'a boring old limp dicks with more money than sense, if ya ask me. You seriously think I'm gonna take you to play that pussy shit?"

"That urban golf stuff didn't seem so pussy to me," Danny says.

"No, but it's pretty fucking stupid all the same. Look, you wanna play golf, this is how we're gonna do it. Little windmills and little elves, and just to make it all nice and properly golf-like, martinis." Flack hoists his Thermos into the air in a toast. He'd mixed up a nice big pitcher of dirty martinis before they'd left the city and then had divided it between the two Thermoses, but he hadn't passed Danny his share until they'd gotten out to the course; he'd meant for it to be a surprise, and they'd spent the ride on the LIRR warming up with a beer or three.

The surprise had worked, too, much to Flack's delight; Danny's eyes had gone wide when he'd taken his first sip, and then he'd grinned and pounded Flack on the back, and told him that he was a very multilayered kinda guy.

"Yeah, okay, fine," Danny says. "But why Long Island, Flack? There's gotta be a mini golf course somewhere back in the city. Shit, I know I've seen one out at Coney Island."

"Sure, but what's the fun in that?" Flack says. "You think you can play through a course like that without getting shot? Good luck with that. 'Sides, you can go out to Coney Island any old time. It's like..." He searches for the words he needs to explain his reasoning. "You shouldn't do stuff just to do it, and then go all half-assed with it. You gotta, like, do it right. You wanna play golf, we're gonna fucking play golf." It's not the best explanation he's ever given, he figures, but it'll do for now, and it's not like Danny makes all that much more sense at any given moment, drunk or sober.

At least, Flack thinks, he managed to not blurt out the other part of the reason he decided to drag Danny all the way out to the Island for their little golf adventure: that it was one of the few ways he could be absolutely certain of getting Danny all to himself for an evening, that out here, unlike at Coney Island or anyplace in the city, he could be sure that they wouldn't get interrupted by work or end up running into anyone they know.

"And that means Long Island in March."

"Yeah, so?"

"And little windmills."

Flack waves his golf club at Danny. "What the fuck's wrong with little windmills?"

"Hey, hey. Nothing." Danny takes a big step backwards, out of club range. "I like the little windmills. Really." He flashes Flack a winning smile.

"Really?" Flack asks, and turns to look him right in the eye. "Don't be bullshitting me now, Messer."

Danny blinks at him. His eyes look blurred behind his glasses, but Flack can't tell if that's just the glasses, or the light, or because they're both so goddamn hammered. Or maybe it's just him; maybe it's his sight that's gone all wobbly. A side result of the whole rotation thing. "I'm not bullshitting you," Danny says.

"Better not be." Flack jabs him in the chest with his club. "'Cause if you are, you're gonna be finding your own way back to the city, and you and I both know that means we won't see you again 'till August, not with your sense of direction."

"Do I look like I'm bullshitting you?" Danny takes another drink, tilting his head back, then lowers the Thermos and looks Flack in the eye. He licks a few drops of vodka off his lower lip.

"Beats the shit outta me," Flack says, and drops the golf club to grab him by the front of his shirt. "Maybe I oughta take a closer look." He hauls Danny in close and the move makes the world not just spin, but tilt, so he closes his eyes. He's vaguely aware that he's still holding his drink in his other hand.

Danny's mouth is pliant against his, but he's all sharp angles, too, a sting of vodka and olives that makes Flack want to pin him down and lick him until all the salt is gone, until there's nothing to taste but wet lips and hot tongue. He lets go of Danny's shirt and holds him by the shoulder instead, and Danny strokes one hand up and down Flack's chest. The night is chilly, since, as Danny has insistently pointed out, it's still only March, and Danny's palm on his torso provides a spreading pool of warmth, right through his shirt to his goosefleshed skin.

Flack can feel his own heart beating, a quick thud that makes the blood roar in his ears, and Danny's heartbeat is a quick, staccato rhythm against him. His head's going clockwise and the world is going counterclockwise, and Danny drags his teeth over Flack's lip one last time before he breaks the kiss and takes a step back. "So what do you think?" he says, and smiles at Flack. "You see any bullshit here?"

"Naw," Flack says, after considering for a moment. "Guess you weren't fronting about any of this." Pleased to see that he's managed to not spill any of his martini, he takes a swig; the taste reminds him of Danny.

"Goddamn right." Danny glances around. "Now what the fuck did I do with my club?"

Flack bends down and picks up his own club. "Like it's gonna help you any," he says.

Danny starts to line up his shot. "Keep on laughing, laughing boy," he says. "I'm gonna apply my physics again, and your ass is gonna take a beating."

"Not 'till we get back to the city, it ain't," Flack says.

Danny snorts laughter and swings, and his ball goes flying off to God knows where in the darkness. He goes stomping off to look for it after a bit of arguing, and Flack lowers himself carefully to the ground so that he can at least make himself comfortable while he waits.

The Earth's rotation has definitely gone all funky, he's decided, and gravity is now starting to crap out on him, too, but, truth be told, he's actually kinda starting to enjoy it.