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Title: The Fake News Host, Soccer, and Amusing Hate Mail
Author: edna_blackadder
Rating: PG
Pairings: Casey McCall/Dan Rydell, Dan Rydell/Jon Stewart (in Dan’s dreams), Natalie Hurley/Jeremy Goodwin, Natalie Hurley/Jon Stewart (in Natalie’s dreams), Calvin Trager/Dana Whitaker referenced
Word Count: 6,077
Summary: Dan has a crush on Jon Stewart. Hilarity ensues.
Disclaimer: All copyrighted material referred to in this work, and the characters, settings, and events thereof, are the properties of their respective owners. This work is not created for profit and constitutes fair use.
Author’s Note: This fic is set in late 2007, or in other words, a few months before I started writing it. It was meant to be a gift to sarcasticsra then, but once I’d set it up, I realized I had absolutely no idea what to do with it from there. I periodically returned to it, but made little progress. Now I’ve again found myself wanting to write her fic, and finally, the characters have complied. Enjoy a fic five years in the making!


For about five minutes, Dan and Casey had been working quietly. Or rather, Casey had been working, while Dan had been checking his email at an alarming rate, which, by this point, he had been doing for several weeks. Suddenly, he leapt from his seat, grinning madly.

“Casey,” Dan said, barely able to contain his glee, “you will never believe what just happened to me.”

Casey shook his head. “The British guy came through for you.”

“The British guy came through for me.”

“You got VIP tickets to The Daily Show.”

“I got VIP tickets to The Daily Show.”

“This is the happiest day of your life.”

“This is the happiest day of my life—OK, maybe not the happiest day of my life,” he added hastily at Casey’s annoyed stare, “but it’s definitely up there. Easily makes the top five. Jon Stewart, Casey. I’m getting to meet Jon Stewart. Jon Stewart!”

Casey groaned. “Who, as you well know, is technically our enemy.”

Dan folded his arms and gave Casey a scandalized look. “How dare you befoul his honorable name.”

“He’s on against us. Twice a night.”

Dan threw his head back dramatically. “Little care I, Casey. Little care I. Oh, Casey, it’s going to be amazing. Me and Jon Stewart in the same room—”

“—you mean ‘Jon Stewart and I’—”

“—why thank you, Casey, I knew there was a reason I’m not a professional writer,” Dan said, glaring at his partner. “Anyway, Jon Stewart and I will be in the same room, and there will be a connection.”

“A connection.”

“A connection.”

“You realize that’s the same thing you said when—” Casey broke off, his eyes widening. “Oh no.”

Dan raised an eyebrow. “What?”

Casey folded his arms. “Dan, that’s the same language you used when you met a certain former First Lady. A connection?”

Dan took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Finally he said, “First of all, don’t remind me, and secondly, yes, a connection.”

“A connection.”

“Yes.”

“Between you and Jon Stewart.”

“Yes.”

“You have a crush on Jon Stewart.”

“Yes.”

This time it was Casey inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly. “All those times you said it was a brilliant show—”

“It is a brilliant show.”

“But that’s not why you watch it.”

“Of course it is. That’s exactly why I watch it. Four nights a week, Jon seduces me with his brilliance.”

Casey looked like he was contemplating banging his head against the desk. “Great. Say, Dan, what was it you promised Mr. Oliver in return for those tickets?”

Dan’s face fell. “In my defense, I was drunk.”

Casey grinned. “What was it?”

“You really know how to kill a mood, don’t you?”

“What was it?”

Dan bit his lip. “You remember that time Calvin asked us to do, where possible, more international coverage, so as to help him sell the show overseas, and in particular in the UK?”

“I remember last week, yes.”

“I may or may not have mentioned this, and Mr. Oliver may or may not have mentioned that he is devoted fan of the Liverpool Football Club.”

Casey burst out laughing. “Soccer?! That’s how much you love Jon Stewart? You told the English guy you’d take charge of our inevitable UK soccer feature?!”

Dan sighed. “You don’t understand, Casey. It’s my chance to meet Jon Stewart. He’s dreamy.”

“Guys?” asked Natalie, poking her head in.

“Guess what, Natalie? I got VIP tickets to The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”

“Nice. If you get to meet him, tell him I think he’s dreamy.”

“Thank you,” said Dan pointedly.

“Hey!” Jeremy called from across the newsroom.

“Thank you,” Casey muttered.

“Anyway,” said Natalie, “I need you guys to look at these tapes, and we have a rundown meeting in about thirty seconds.”

“Thank you, Natalie. Now, Dan, if you don’t mind, I’ll just be doing our job so that Dana doesn’t kill us at this rundown meeting.”

“Casey?”

“Yes?”

“Watch the show with me.”

“You want me to watch our show with you?”

“Not our show, The Daily Show. Jon’s show. I’d offer you the second ticket if I could, but it’s in the afternoon and obviously one of us has to be here. So watch it with me afterward.”

Casey hesitated for a moment. “Why?”

Dan leaned forward, looking Casey squarely in the eye. “I want to share this experience with you. It’s about time you were enlightened.”

“Enlightened? It’s about time I was enlightened?”

“Yes. It’s about time you were enlightened,” Dan said, doing the best puppy dog eyes he could. “Please, Casey. Just watch the show with me. I want you to.”

“Okay.”

“Okay?”

“Okay,” Casey repeated. “I’ll watch The Daily Show with you.”

Dan’s eyes lit up. “You want to?”

Casey shook his head slightly, but returned the smile. “Not particularly, but you do. If you want me to watch The Daily Show with you this one time, I’ll watch The Daily Show with you.”

Dan leaned back in his chair. “You won’t regret it, Casey. Jon Stewart, man. Jon Stewart.”

Before Casey could reply, Dana appeared at the door to their office, looking decidedly less than pleased. “Rundown meeting,” he said hurriedly.

“Yes,” she said, positively radiating irritation.

“Dana, guess what?” Dan interjected. “I got VIP tickets to The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”

“That’s great, Dan. You know what else is great? When my anchors show up to rundown meetings on time with more than two lines of script written.”

“I’ll have you know this is his fault,” Casey said as he rose from his chair and moved to follow her out.

Dana glared at him. “I cannot possibly tell you how much I don’t care.”

Casey smiled in spite of himself. “I had a feeling you wouldn’t. Let’s go.”

Once they were seated in the rundown meeting, Dan found it difficult to concentrate as Dana ran through the day’s show, and Casey’s evident amusement at this did not make it easier. He was nowhere near ready with a plan to head off the round of mocking he knew was coming when Dana asked, “All right, anything else?”

Casey grinned and said, “Dan has something to say.”

Dan shook his head. “No, I don’t.”

Casey’s grin widened, and he patted Dan on the shoulder. “Yes, you do. You see, everyone, it takes a real man to admit when he’s been wrong about something, and Dan is about to man up and tell you all about the epiphany he’s just had.”

Of course, Casey had to frame it in “real man” terms. That was just mean. All eyes turned to Dan, and he reluctantly cleared his throat. “I’ve been thinking about Calvin’s request that we do more international coverage. In particular, I’ve been thinking about his stipulation that we cover UK soccer. I want to do it.”

There was a beat, and the whole room erupted into laughter, and Dan knew that he was never, ever going to live this down. Dana eventually gave him the go-ahead, but only after courteously allowing everyone in the room to get in a remark or several at his expense, inquiring about his great epiphany. This was merely the beginning, Dan knew, of the remarks at his expense on this topic.

“That was evil,” Dan said to Casey afterward.

“How so?” Casey asked. “I gave you an in, or an out, however you see it. You should be thanking me. Frankly, you should be glad that I’m not pissed off at you for stealing what would almost certainly have been my assignment.”

“But now I’m going to have to keep on pretending I like soccer, since I can’t possibly tell Dana the real reason I want to do it.”

If Casey had had a mustache, he would have been twirling it. “I did think it was a rather cunning plan.”

By his own design, Dan knew next to nothing about soccer, and his sudden responsibility for this feature meant he had to do a lot of reading on the subject he so loathed. Fortunately, the Liverpool team was legitimately in contention for...whatever it was again, so spotlighting them was actually not a bad idea.

Casey found Dan’s pain hilarious. Every so often, Dan banged his head on his desk in an attempt to dramatize the profound sense of despair that soccer instilled in him, but the longer he suffered, the more determined he became to endure and triumph. It would be worth it in the end. Jon Stewart was worth anything.

*


Within a week, Dan’s three minutes of painstakingly researched hell had aired. Unfortunately, the flattering language he had used in regards to Liverpool in the hope of ensuring John Oliver’s approval aroused the ire of a cavalcade of Manchester United fans, a disturbing number of whom, judging from the origin points of some of the emails, were not even Brits but a certain class of American young people, who he could only assume were desperately trying to be cultured and worldly. In Dan’s opinion, learning to spell one’s death threats correctly was probably a more effective strategy for achieving this goal. Okay, so there were only two death threats in at least 100 emails, but still.

“He’s going to beet my Ares,” Dan read out from the latest one. “He’s going to take a root vegetable to my Greek god of war.”

Casey shook his head. “That would seem an insufficient offering. You have such a glorious Ares.”

Dan looked up, surprised and hoping he wasn’t blushing. “Why, Casey McCall, were you just flirting with me?”

“I would say that was more like complimenting you. Flirting would be if I made a loaded comment about what I’d like to do to your Ares.”

Dan was definitely blushing now. “I’m listening. In fact, I’m imagining ways to clear our schedule as we speak. All I ask is that you not, under any circumstances, attempt to extend the root vegetable metaphor.”

“I’d like to worship your Ares in the temple of our bedroom all night long, and all I ask in return is that you not dignify a typo by calling it a metaphor.”

“It’s worse than a typo. He cut out letters from a magazine, glued them to paper and scanned it into an email. Hence the capital A in Ares.”

“I’d say your Ares is more than deserving of a capital letter.”

Dan smiled, then stood up and walked, slowly, over to Casey’s desk. “My Ares is all yours, Casey, but first I want to get down on my knees and do things to you that you never thought possible.”

“Ooh, Dan,” said a voice at the door. Dan turned around and saw Kim standing there, grinning devilishly. “I was going to tell you that Patrick Ryan is on line three, but never mind. I’ll be in my bunk.”

Dan felt his face turn from an understated pink to a bright, unmistakeable red, and then felt it turn redder still when Casey said, “Don’t get any ideas about Dan’s Ares, Kim. I’m prepared to throw down, whether it’s with you, or a crazy Manchester United fan, or Hillary Clinton, or Jon Stewart.”

Kim raised her eyebrows, and Dan said, “Okay, I promise that in exactly fifteen seconds, I’ll remember that I’m at work, go take that call and try to behave in something resembling a professional manner. But first, there’s something I need to do very badly.”

With that, Dan leaned down and kissed Casey deeply. “Hey, no complaints from me,” he heard Kim say, but he was considerably more interested in Casey’s adventuring tongue.

*


Two days before the taping, Dan was bouncing off the wall, much to the chagrin of everyone around him. “Forty-eight hours, Casey, forty-eight hours. Just forty-eight hours until I meet Jon Stewart!”

Casey was wearing his best resigned expression. Richard Nixon should have tried one like it. “That’s great, Dan, as I’ve told you every day for the past week. Have you decided to whom you’re giving the second ticket, since it can’t be me?”

“Probably Natalie, if Dana can spare her. She understands how I feel about Jon.”

“You’re not worried she’ll try to steal him right out from under your nose?”

Dan frowned. “That’s a good point. Maybe I should take Isaac instead. I know he’s a fan of the show.”

“Didn’t you say something about standing out in the cold for at least an hour or two? Do you really think that’s a good idea for Isaac? And doesn’t he need to be here, too?”

“I’m sure they’d let us wait inside if we explained the situation, but you’re probably right about Isaac needing to be here. Natalie it is, then. I’ll just have to keep Jeremy on speed dial in case she gets any ideas.”

“As opposed to, of course, your getting any ideas. Should I have Natalie keep me on speed dial?”

“I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to turn our cell phones off during the show,” said Natalie, stepping into their office. “Did I just hear that Dan’s inviting me to the Daily Show taping? Because I have to say, it’s about time. I’ve only been dropping hints ever since I realized he couldn’t take you, Casey. Dan, when it comes to hints, you’re officially worse than Jeremy.”

Jeremy poked his head in. “And if I do say so myself, that is very impressive. Also, Dan, you should be forewarned. Keeping me on speed dial won’t help. Jon Stewart is on Natalie’s celebrity sex list. I can’t interfere with any attempt she might make to get him into bed unless I want her to stand in the way of my night with Samantha Bee.”

“Honey, if you ever meet Samantha Bee, I will be the least of your worries. If anything, you will need me to help you prevent Elliott, Dave, Will, and Chris from standing in the way of our night with her.”

Casey groaned. “Is everyone a fan of this show but me?”

Natalie nodded. “Pretty much, yeah, although Dana is a fairly recent convert. She initially had the same reluctance to support anything on against us that you do, but Calvin finally got her to see reason. When the guy who owns our network says they’re not a threat, you can believe him.”

“Yeah, because lying is something that network executives never do.”

Jeremy rolled his eyes. “Casey, you know Calvin is no average network suit. If he were, Dana not only wouldn’t be with him, she’d never have met him in the first place, and instead of making this show that we love, we’d all somebody else’s monkeys.” He paused, then added thoughtfully, “If he ever does turn to the Dark Side, though, I wonder if Jon Stewart would hire me.”

“That would be impossible, sweetie, because he would have already hired me.”

“Hey,” Dan broke in. “If he hired anybody, it would have to be me.”

Casey shook his head. “I hate all of you.”

*


Forty-eight hours later, Dan and Natalie were standing in line under the Daily Show awning, and it was cold. Natalie was rocking a white fur hat, but Dan felt that he currently bore far too great a resemblance to Elmer Fudd. Still, looking like Elmer Fudd did have the advantage of reducing the likelihood of his being recognized. “So what does this VIP package entail?” Natalie asked, shoving her hands into her pockets.

“Not much, that I know of,” Dan replied, clutching his precious red ticket, number 28, and wondering how early the first 27 people had to have come in order to have arrived ahead of them. “We...are guaranteed to get in and don’t have to wait as long, I guess?”

“Lame,” said Natalie, “but I think I can forgive them. Do we get to meet Jon?”

“Personally, no, I don’t think so,” said Dan, “but I know he takes questions from the audience beforehand. Think of something good to ask, but not too good, because I don’t want you stealing my thunder.”

“As if you could possibly steal my thunder,” Natalie said, smiling and shaking her head. “What are you planning to ask him?”

Dan frowned. “I still haven’t decided. It’s more than a little intimidating. I have questioners’ block.”

“You have questioners’ block?”

“I have questioners’ block. Like writers’ block, except that instead of writing, it’s asking questions of your political comedy guru and celebrity crush, who happen to be the same person.”

Natalie stared at him. After a pause, she said, “Wow, you’re really nervous, aren’t you?”

“Yes. The last time I met someone I had a crush on, I said the opposite of what I meant and it was a complete fiasco. I’m ten seconds away from a nervous breakdown, Natalie.”

“Well, that can’t be good,” said Natalie, and she began rummaging for something in her purse.

“Indeed—” Dan started, then choked as he received a face full of water. Dan coughed and wiped his face on his coat, then said, “I walked right into that one, didn’t I.”

“I left the door wide open for you.”

“I wouldn’t mind, if it had actually helped.”

“Actually, I think it did help. Ask Jon if you can be a guest on the show.”

Dan stared. “You want me to invite myself onto The Daily Show.”

“Maybe you two have a mutual admiration society going on. Only one way to find out. Come on, Dan. It would be good for the show.”

“You’re forgetting the part where we’re on against him. It’s not in his show’s financial interest to promote us.”

“So say you’re writing a book.”

“But I’m not a writing a book.”

“Well, start writing one.”

“What about?”

“How about a biography of Orlando Rojas? He’s retiring next year, isn’t he?”

Dan smiled in spite of himself. “I might enjoy that. Actually, can I tell you something in confidence?”

“Sure.”

“I’ve occasionally thought about writing a memoir.”

Natalie’s eyes widened. “A memoir?”

“Not now, obviously. I’ve thought about writing a memoir years down the road, to occupy my idle hands in my twilight years.”

Natalie considered. “You have had a pretty remarkable life. It could be interesting reading.”

“I’m glad you think so. But it depends on...well, you know exactly what it depends on.” Dan glanced furtively around him. None of the other VIPs in line seemed to be interested in their conversation, but he couldn’t be too careful.

“Aha, yeah, you may have a problem there.”

“Or I may not. It’s hard to know.” Just in case, he lowered his voice to a whisper. “It’s gotten better, over the years. I mean, at first, everything had to be behind closed doors, and he had more locks on his door than a paranoid recluse. It was months before he was even willing to tell our friends.”

“It was no big deal, Dan. We knew anyway.”

“Yeah, I remember. You mentioned something about that, and he turned an interesting shade of purple. But it’s been five years now, and he’s gotten better. The other day he was flirting with me in our office, and while that was nice, what really got me was the fact that he was doing it in a not-entirely-private place and seemingly without issues. I can’t take that for granted.”

“So you’re saying that if times change more and he changes more, you’ll want to write a memoir that will inevitably touch on the subject of your life together, but despite encouraging signs, today is not that day.”

“Nor is tomorrow, nor is the day after tomorrow.”

Natalie squeezed Dan’s arm. “He loves you. That’s what’s important. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it, but you do work in sports.”

“I’m not so much tired of hearing it as tired of thinking it.” After a moment, Dan asked, “Would that have been a problem for you? I mean, if Jeremy were Janet?”

Natalie frowned. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “I’d like to think it wouldn’t be, but it’s hard to say for sure. I’d definitely stick to pitchers who’ve made remarkable comebacks when looking for a first book subject.”

“Do you actually think I should write a book?”

“I think—” Natalie began, but she was interrupted by a Daily Show intern in a windbreaker, clapping his hands to get the line’s attention. “Never mind. Looks like we’re headed inside. I’m going to have to ask you to stop talking now, so that I can decide what to ask Jon.”

*


Going inside, it transpired, meant more waiting, but on the positive side, it also meant warming up, and warming up meant that Dan could lose his Elmer Fudd get-up. After a while the regular, non-VIP audience began to file in, and after several warnings from the staff to use the bathroom now or forever hold their pee, they were escorted into the studio.

They were given good seats, in the center of the center. “Natalie,” Dan whispered, “it’s really happening! We’re going to meet Jon Stewart!”

“And I’d like to impress him, meaning I still can’t talk to you yet.”

“But—” Dan began, but he was interrupted by the warm-up comedian, who introduced himself as Paul Mecurio. He was funny, but Dan, still agonizing over whether to use Natalie’s suggestion, found it difficult to concentrate on his routine. One look at Natalie told him that he was not alone in this.

Paul Mecurio, it seemed, enjoyed picking on the audience, but to Dan’s relief, he didn’t seem to recognize them. Or perhaps he did recognize them, but also recognized that the Midwestern tourists two rows in front of them made infinitely better fodder.

At long last, the moment arrived. Mecurio introduced Jon Stewart, and the man himself came out from behind the panels to thundering applause. Dan clapped as hard as he could and tried not to swoon.

“Wow,” Natalie whispered in his ear. “He’s really short.”

“Coming from you, that’s hilarious.”

“I didn’t say I had a problem with it. I just wasn’t expecting it. I think Jeremy might be taller.”

“I’m sure Jeremy will feel very masculine when you tell him that.”

Jon Stewart held up his hands, and the applause eventually died down, although it took its sweet time. Dan certainly wasn’t going to stop applauding too soon. “Thank you, thank you. Welcome to The Daily Show. My name is Jon Stewart. We’ve got a few minutes before the show starts, so I’ll be happy to take a few questions.”

The audience’s hands were in the air before he’d finished his sentence, Dan’s included. Natalie also had her hand raised, although she looked slightly hesitant, as though she hadn’t quite decided on a question but wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to speak to Jon. “Yes, the woman in the Mets cap in the corner?”

Dan smacked his forehead. Jon Stewart was a Mets fan. He could just ask him who his favorite player was. That would definitely be a good way to make a connection. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t remembered it before. Maybe they could commiserate over the team’s spectacular collapse last season.

“Who’s your favorite Mets player?” the woman in the Mets cap asked, dashing Dan’s hopes.

“I’m a fan of the whole team, really,” Jon replied, “but I will say that I’m thoroughly impressed with John Maine. He was one of the few bright spots last year.” He then turned to the other side of the studio. “Yes, the man in the red jacket?”

“Are you running for president?” the man in the red jacket asked, and there was a collective groan throughout the audience. They had been specifically warned against asking that question.

Jon grimaced, but he forced himself to smile, perhaps in an attempt to not sound too brusque, which, in Dan’s opinion, only added to his “decent guy in real life” appeal. “No, definitely not. I’m very flattered, and more than a little terrified, that so many of you seem to think that would be a good idea, but it really, really wouldn’t be.” He turned to the center, then paused and stared. After a moment, he said, “That’s Dan Rydell, from Sports Night.”

All eyes turned in Dan’s direction. Stunned, he replied, “Uh, yeah, I am.” Then Natalie elbowed him in the side. “Ow,” he muttered. Seeing Jon’s quizzical look, he added quickly, “This is Natalie Hurley, our senior associate producer, who would never forgive me if I didn’t introduce her to you. We’re both huge fans. It’s an honor to meet you, sir.”

Dan was pleased to see that Jon’s face had turned slightly red. “Nice to meet you both,” he replied. “A lot of us here are fans of your show, too, myself included. We wish you weren’t on against us, of course, but if you ever want to come on the show, you should have your people call our people and work something out.”

Dan’s own face was almost certainly bright red now. “Um, wow, that would be incredible. I’d love to.”

“You didn’t even have to ask,” said Natalie, almost in wonder.

“Yeah, or do another soccer feature,” said Dan, without thinking.

“What?” asked Natalie, snapping out of her trance.

“Nothing,” said Dan, but Natalie clearly wasn’t buying it.

“Did you just inadvertently tell me that your sudden enthusiasm for soccer, after years and years of hating it, had something to do with our getting these tickets?”

Dan opened and closed his mouth. “Um...no...maybe...”

“I’m sorry, I think I’m a bit lost,” said Jon. “What about a soccer feature?”

Dan took a deep breath, futilely attempting to inhale courage as well as air. This was definitely not how he had wanted their meeting to go, and he had only himself to blame. “Okay, um, like I said before, we’re big fans of yours. I had emailed, trying to get tickets to a taping, but I hadn’t heard back. I was starting to think I wasn’t going to, but then by a strange and unlikely coincidence I recognized your British correspondent at a bar downtown. I said hello and told him I’m a fan, and we had a few drinks together. I mentioned my attempt to get tickets, and he said he could put in a good word, but in return, well...I’d mentioned how our network is trying to market us overseas in general and in the UK in particular, which means we have to do more international sports coverage. So Mr. Oliver mentioned that he’s a big fan of the Liverpool Football Club, and...I am officially babbling, aren’t I.”

Natalie nodded. “You have been for some time, yes.”

Jon stared at him, then turned to one of his aides. “Could you go find John Oliver and ask him to come out for a minute?”

The aide nodded and went off behind the panels. Dan’s hands shook. “He’s not in trouble, is he? I mean, I wouldn’t want you to think he did anything wrong. I got the confirmation email before I even offered to take the piece off of Casey’s hands, so it wasn’t like he held me to that or anything. And,” he continued, turning to Natalie, “I wouldn’t want you to think I just auction off bits of our show to anyone who asks. I’d never have promised anyone anything that we weren’t already going to do in the first place. I wouldn’t want you to think that I don’t respect you and Dana and Isaac and the fact that it’s very much the producers, not the anchors, who call the shots—”

Natalie cut him off. “You’re babbling again, Danny, but don’t worry, I’m not mad at you. I know how much you respect us, and I know how much you care about the integrity and quality of Sports Night. I’m just stunned by how you apparently spent an entire week feigning enthusiasm for a feature on a sport that makes you want to die inside, which Casey could just as easily have done, because of a drunken gentlemen’s agreement born out of your love for Jon Stewart. This truly speaks to the depths of your mancrush.”

Dan’s face turned, if possible, even redder, and part of him panicked. He knew that Natalie had chosen her words carefully, that “mancrush” was generally straight guy terminology, but what if—

“I’m your mancrush?” asked Jon, looking genuinely bewildered. He was, indeed, far too skilled in the art of turning self-deprecation into sex appeal. “Wow. Not that I’m not flattered, but I would have thought you’d have better taste.”

The audience laughed, and a woman in the back called out, “That’s not possible!” at which Jon had the good grace to blush.

Just then, John Oliver stepped into the studio, to further applause. The height difference between him and Jon Stewart, Dan noted, was truly impressive. When the applause had died down, he said to Jon, “I was told you wanted to see me?”

“Yes. Remember that Sports Night soccer piece you were so excited about a few weeks back? Is there a reason you didn’t mention that it was written with you in mind?”

“What?” John Oliver looked very confused. “Well, with the flattering language and spotlight on Liverpool it certainly could have been, but what are you talking about?”

“Dan Rydell is in our audience today,” Jon informed him, gesturing towards Dan and Natalie’s seats. “He says that although they were going to do such a piece anyway, he made it his personal responsibility, despite a rabid dislike of your brand of football, after you offered to have his ticket request moved along. Apparently, for reasons defying human comprehension, I am his mancrush.”

“I don’t understand,” said John slowly. “I’ve never met Dan Rydell, not that I wouldn’t like to.” He scanned the audience, and finding Dan, said, “Perhaps you have me mixed up with someone else?”

Dan shook his head, but before he could reply, Jon said, “There seems to have been some amount of alcohol involved?”

John blinked. “Wait, how long ago was this?”

“About a month ago,” said Dan, confused.

“And where?”

“This bar downtown, near Chambers Street.”

John smacked his forehead. “I really don’t drink very often, contrary to British stereotypes. The reason I was downtown that day is that I had to sort out some paperwork at the immigration office. I love my adopted country, but every time I go into that building, and this is not hyperbole, my life flashes before my eyes.” He paused and took a deep breath. “So not only are you the guy who did an excellent feature on Liverpool, you’re also the kind stranger who poured me into a taxi after a truly traumatic experience necessitating rare self-medication. If you ever need anything, anything at all, feel free to ask.”

“Wait,” said Dan. “If you don’t remember this, how come my tickets were approved?”

“As I mentioned, a lot of us here like your show,” said Jon, with a smile that made Dan melt. “I’m pretty sure that was never in doubt. The process just takes a while.”

Just then, the aide who had fetched John walked back up to them. “I’m sorry to interrupt,” she said, “but Colbert’s people are getting antsy. If we run late, they run late.”

“Right,” said Jon apologetically. “Let’s get on with the show. Since we got sidetracked, I’ll take other questions afterward.”

*


After the taping, Dan found it very difficult to shut up about it. However, he knew that if he told Casey all of the jokes in advance, this might ruin his chance to finally secure Casey’s enlightenment later. Instead, he gushed about the audience Q&A.

“You know how they say you should never meet your heroes?” Dan asked, ignoring Casey’s expression of utter disinterest. “Not true, when your hero is Jon Stewart. He’s such a decent guy, Casey. He took a bunch of extra questions from the audience after the taping, which he did not have to do, because he felt bad for letting Natalie and me distract him. And when Natalie told him he was my mancrush, he was totally cool about it. I mean, not that I would have expected otherwise, given his tendency to flirt with George Clooney, but—”

“Flirting with George Clooney doesn’t make one cool, Dan, it makes one human,” Casey pointed out, but Dan wasn’t listening.

“It was just really nice,” Dan continued, “but you know what was even nicer? He invited me to be a guest on the show, Casey! He invited me to be a guest on the show!”

Casey stared. “He invited you to be a guest on his show?”

Dan nodded, completely unable to stop smiling. “He invited me to be a guest on his show!”

“He invited you to be a guest on his show, which would allow you to promote our show, which is, as we have established, on against him.”

“Yes.”

Casey blinked. “Okay, you’re right. That is very cool indeed.”

“Yes, it is, Casey. And that’s on top of how great the show was. Oh, I cannot wait to enlighten you tonight.”

Just then, Natalie walked in. “Hey, Casey, did you know that Dan was faking his sudden love for soccer, in a valiant attempt to honor a drunken promise born out of his deep and true love for Jon Stewart?”

“Ah, yes,” said Casey nervously.

“And is there a reason you failed to share this with the class?”

“Excuse me?”

“Because it sounds like this was a golden opportunity for mocking, and you kept it all to yourself.”

“Hey, you guys mocked me plenty anyway,” Dan pointed out, but Natalie was not interested.

Casey sighed. “We are going to be pants-less for the first several segments, aren’t we.”

“Sharing is caring, Casey.”

Casey shrugged. “I suppose it’s for the best. Dan absolutely cannot do the show while looking that ridiculously happy.”

*


Casey, Dan was pleased to see, was completely speechless by the end of the show. “That was—” he gasped, between gales of laughter. “That was—how come you never pushed it on me before?”

Dan folded his arms. “I’m pretty sure I did, many times, and you would not listen. How many times did you tell me that if you were going to be awake one minute longer than necessary, it had better not be for the purpose of watching TV?”

“Oh, so now you’re mad at me because I didn’t want to compete with a fake news host for your attention?”

“Casey, now that you understand about Jon, we can enjoy his brilliance together. That was always the point.”

“Count on it.” Casey leaned over, cupped Dan’s neck, and kissed him lightly. Then he said, “Just one question. What’s the deal with The Colbert Report?”

Dan smiled. “Just you wait, Casey, just you wait.”

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
gothams3rdrobin
May. 5th, 2013 01:45 pm (UTC)
I am beaming over here :-) I haven't read a Sports Night fic in ages, and a Daily Show crossover? Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing this.
secret_dossiers
May. 6th, 2013 02:13 pm (UTC)
You're most welcome! Thank you for reading and commenting. :)
thalialunacy
May. 5th, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
YESSSSS. I laughed like a loon only about every other line. Thank you SO MUCH for dragging this out of WIP purgatory and finishing it! \o/
secret_dossiers
May. 6th, 2013 02:13 pm (UTC)
Yay! Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
healingmirth
May. 5th, 2013 08:42 pm (UTC)
Wheeee, this is adorable!
secret_dossiers
May. 6th, 2013 02:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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