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[personal profile] bibliothekara
Rating: G/FRC
Warnings: None
Genres: Crossover, AU, Slash, Angst, Friendship
Characters/Pairings: David Rossi/Keith Olbermann (brief appearances by Aaron Hotchner and Rachel Maddow)
Disclaimer: All copyrighted materials referred to in this work are the property of their respective owners. References to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libelous, defamatory, or in any way factual.

Notes: a) Set in The Kidverse, created by writers much more talented than my poor self.
b) Grown out of of some shared head-canon and gleeful  fannish discussions, particularly the summary line. Because [personal profile] lilalanor and I love Dave and Keith, those grumpy badgers.
c) Title from an Edwin P. Whipple quote , for reasons that will become clear.

Summary:  "They’re better friends than they ever were lovers." Dave looks back over his relationship with Keith.

It was the books they fought over at the end. After all, it wasn’t like they had all that much cooking equipment. Or any real  advanced technology to speak of. It was a joke between them, and their friends, that Dave and Keith got through the Internet boom by mooching off their employers.

And the music collections were just too disparate to be mistaken. Even if previous relationships had taught both of them to label the sleeves for the vinyl  with Sharpie marker.

(Billie Holiday, the only thing they ever listened to together. Neither of them can listen to “God Bless The Child” now without wincing.)

But it was the books they fought over. There’s still a history of the Industrial Revolution that Dave insists belongs to him. And an essay collection that's been stolen back and forth about a dozen times.

So many times that it’s become a joke.  Keith got Rachel to steal it at a dinner party recently. And then found it snuggled amidst Emily’s Pratchett paperbacks a year later.

They’re better friends than they ever were lovers.


But they were pretty good as lovers. The sex was never the problem.

New York. 1993. The one party that both of them ever got invited to at the same time. Dave and Keith holding court in separate corners. Until it got into the wee hours, and the room got smaller. And a “hey kid” was all that he needed.

Keith’s hair was darker then. Jet black; black as night at a time when the grey had been creeping up Dave’s temples for too many years.

He looked over, and was nearly blinded by the glare coming off those glasses. One of those pairs that Keith wore mostly to be contrarian (entirely to be contrarian, if you caught Dave on one of the bad days, later.)

That night, Keith was beautiful. He was young, and he was beautiful, and he wouldn’t shut the hell up.

It started at the party.... it continued at the deli. Over coffee, and bagels, and grape jam.

They didn’t kiss then, was the entirely surprising thing. Or the next morning. Or the week in between, when Dave was out in the Northwest on a case. (Watching Keith on the reruns, and not doing other things, damn small hotel rooms and Gideon’s complete lack of “getting the point.”)

But he got back to New York eventually. Got back to the place that, at the time, was more home to him than DC or Virginia would ever be.

He looks at his yard, the playset, the stray soccer ball, and can’t imagine that time now.

Except that maybe he can; because Aaron, and the kids, are his home now, more than any bit of sod. And in the early days , that’s what he and Keith were like.

Like messy kitchens, and unfinished writings, and fumbling sex on blue suede couches. Like home.

Home doesn’t necessarily need an address. Just a name.


Names, nicknames, epithets. They both had a larger shared vocabulary than was ever good for them.

Edward Albee, eat your heart out. Dave knows that some friends called him and Keith “George and Martha” behind their backs.

Not that he can blame them. Those friends saw the 8 o’clock dinners, few as they were. The attempts that Keith and Dave made at normality for other people. Cooking, and conversation that had a point. Conversation that wasn’t a tennis match, wasn’t something that left a winner and a loser.

They even had a fight once over who was George, and who was Martha. Dave doesn’t quite remember what the result was; probably he turned out to be George. Age before beauty and all that.

Because Keith, still beautiful to him. That smile, the glint in his eye.

It’s what broke them up, eventually. Because they loved each other, and they still do. But it was never enough, never what could stop them from being...them.

Two consuming fires, burning each other to bits, nothing left. Dave and Keith saw that coming, and had the good sense to find the cold water.


They never had a location problem, Keith and Dave. They had a timing problem. See: dinner parties.

Dinner parties, 8 o’clock, friends gathered around...on their days off. When Dave could find the time away from the case of the week; when Keith had asked for (or been involuntarily *given*) a day away from the lights, and the cameras, and the constant stream of information.

Dave and Keith, they weren’t, they never were, a day-off couple. What fueled them could only be found just before or a little bit after deadlines. The one AM adrenaline rush during the playoffs. The nights that Keith would pick up Dave from JFK, and be barely able to keep his hands off him.

This is what Dave warns Keith about, even now. But Keith can’t wean himself off it. Not yet. Sometimes Dave saw Keith with Rachel, and couldn’t help but shake his head. Wait for the phone call. Sex makes things more complicated, but it’s not always necessary.

(The phone call came, but not from who he expected. Rachel’s voice, low and sad, saying good night to Emily and Spencer. Flying somewhere over the Midwest.

“He didn’t tell me, Dave. I mean...I think I knew, but, he didn’t tell me.”

“I know, Rach. I know.”)

They were all together once, somewhere in Washington. It may have been an Election Night, it may have been something else. But it was Dave and Rachel and Aaron and Keith all together, and he called her “kid”.  

Dave wanted to slap...someone. Because that was theirs. Wanted to yell, scream, cry.

Then he remembered. Looked over at Aaron, who had sensed not a thing.

(Aaron and Dave are a rest-of-the-time couple. The ones who can make it through a quiet 3 o’clock on a Sunday. When the tea kettle is keening, and one kid is singing along to Les Miz and the other is building Minas Tirith out of the mud and turf in the back yard.)

Dave and Keith were never going to be that. And Dave’s okay with that now.


They still fight over the books, though.  

They were together such a relatively short time, it’s remarkable just how much communal reading material they managed to accumulate.

Keith always boasted (whenever anyone gave him the chance) how quickly they’d moved past the flowers and chocolates stage. Except Dave’s allergic to flower pollen, and Keith just plain doesn’t like most things they stick in chocolate.

So books it was. Books, that marked the passage of time; books that said “I’m sorry I was such an idiot”; books that got thrown at the wall because neither of them really wanted to throw things at each other.

It was a book that Keith brought, in a plain purple wrapper, to see Aaron and Dave married. And it was a book that Dave brought to console Keith in the midst of that year, of funerals and chaos and endings.

They were always better friends then they were lovers. Even when they were lovers.

There will be books with his distinctive expansive autograph somewhere on the Upper East Side for years. And he’s comforted by the fact that some year in the future he, or Spencer, or Emily, will stumble on a back page with “KO” etched in impeccable handwriting.



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