Fandom: Hot Fuzz
Rating: PG-13 for language and violence.
Word Count: 3750+ words
Notes: It’s about as gen as the film. Maybe slightly less. Title from the Beatles song.
Sandford streets were littered with errant wrappers thoughtlessly left by bored youth culture. Angel narrowed his eyes, stooped to pick up a piece of blue foil, smiled softly to himself as he placed it where it belonged, in the bin. He dusted his hands, adjusted the hem of his jumper and was pleasantly surprised by his radio crackling to life.
“Yes, PC Thatcher?”
“Is Danny there? Only, there’s something he needs to know and I want him to hear it from us before he hears it on the news.”
Angel’s heart rate increased and his sunny disposition disappeared. He clutched the radio tighter. “What’s wrong, Doris?”
“A cake appeared on Danny’s desk this morning, just after you left on your rounds, with a note. I didn’t understand it at first. It’s a lovely cake, looks all buttery and light like it’d melt in your mouth-”
Angel interrupted. “Stop with the tangent, on with the story.”
Doris continued to avoid the central point of the discussion. “The note said, ‘this is my punishment’.”
“Inspector Butterman’s escaped, Inspector Angel.”
“Escaped. Broken out. Stolen away. Flown the coop. Scarpered. Retreated. Eloped. Buggered off.”
“They reported him missing late last night. Said he tricked two guards. Killed another.”
Angel repeatedly hit his head with the heel of his hand. “Double fuck. Quadruple fuck. Fuck!”
“How did he do that?”
“He was always unusually smart, beneath that calm and sweet façade. That’s why he was so good.”
“He wasn’t so good, Doris. He was bad. Very, very bad.”
“Who was bad?”
Angel spun around to see Danny standing, gazing at him in curiosity, his tongue poised to lick at the cornetto in his hand.
“Are you talking about that O’Mara bloke in the latest Resident Evil, because I agree, he was awful. Dread to think what he’s gonna be like in the American ver-”
“Danny, I have… news. Doris, I’ll radio back.”
A frown creased Danny’s forehead. “… news?”
Angel cast a look down the street. He tensed his back and took a deep breath. Not here. He couldn’t do it here. It had to be somewhere Danny could be relaxed and comfortable.
Jake was making a racket on the Ooh Ah Dracula machine. Angel set the glasses on the table and looked over his shoulder, about to ask Jake very kindly to stop, but thought better of it. The ambiance of the pub was exactly what he needed.
His cranberry juice was laced with vodka. Danny had a beer. Drinking on duty, he’d have to remember to rap himself on the knuckles, but right now, he needed all the dutch courage he could get.
Danny stared around him. “Was this your news? New curtains?”
Angel finished gulping his quasi-Cosmopolitan and licked his teeth. “Sorry?”
“New curtains. Much better than the old ones. Classy. You’ve been giving them interior decorating tips?”
“I, uh, suggested they get a peace lily for the corner. Danny…” Angel hesitated, flexing his fingers.
Danny remained cheerfully oblivious. “Yeah?”
“Your Dad’s escaped from gaol.”
Danny seemed to turn in on himself. His face became tight and his cheeks hollowed. He shrugged his shoulders in exaggeration, a few terse moments of silence clouding the once-warm atmosphere of the pub. When he looked Angel in the eye his expression was resolute.
“We better go after him, then.”
“That’s not the world’s best idea.”
“It’s not the worst.”
Danny shook his head. “Actually, nothing, Nick.”
Angel lifted his glass to his lips, gripping tightly so it wouldn’t slip. “I don’t want you making any rash decisions. The thing is… well, he’s already been in contact, apparently.”
Danny’s expression was a direct contrast to his usual joviality. “When were you gonna tell me?”
“I only just found out myself.”
“Ain’t that lovely.”
“I really think we should let the proper authorities deal with this one.”
“We are the proper authorities. At what point did policemen stop being proper authorities?”
“Police officers are, but not when they’re personally involved, Danny, and…”
Danny gritted his teeth, looking uncharacteristically fierce and menacing. “If you don’t wanna deal with it, fine. Let me go alone.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Why not? Don’t you trust me, is that it? Think I’ll stuff it up?”
“I trust you with my life. We’re partners. That’s why I can’t let you go alone. Where you go, I go.”
Angel finished the rest of his drink, noting that Danny hadn’t even had a sip of his beer. “Now?”
“No time like the right time to rock this shit.”
Excuses were made. Angel was aware that everyone knew exactly what was going on, but they all maintained the charade. Inspector Angel and Sergeant Butterman were to be away from the station for as long as it took, on official business, nothing more. The fact that they took several items from stores was summarily ignored.
Danny stared at the note left on top of the delectable looking cake for six minutes, unblinking. His jaw hardened and for a second he looked so unlike himself, Angel wanted to wander over and ply him with a copious amount of alcohol, numerous crisps and a cuddle monkey. He didn’t. He tossed the keys into the air for Danny to catch and waited by the door.
Gloucestershire was quite attractive, really. Even the city-loving side of Angel had to agree with that. It was very green and relatively flat. Of course, compared to other places, it was also quite small and by the time Danny had been driving twenty minutes, they were in another county.
“You have an idea, then,” Angel asked, finally allowing himself to broach the subject.
“I’m not all daffodils up here, y’know.”
Angel bit his lip, thinking that this was probably not the right time to be asking Danny about his odd phraseology. “Okay.”
Danny ducked his head down, momentarily losing concentration on the road. He was searching for something in his wallet, but Angel couldn’t tell what it was. “Dad was sending me a message. Giving me directions.”
Danny was immediately defensive. “Nick, stop being a cunt. You don’t see anything.”
Angel grabbed the steering wheel and swerved the car out of the way of a pedestrian. “And neither do you. Lift your fucking head up and look where you’re driving.”
Danny retrieved his sought-after object, placed it into his pocket and commenced driving haphazardly.
“Why’s this turned you into Arnold Schwarzenegger during his Red Heat days all of a sudden?”
“He’s my dad, Nick. Not yours. Not your Uncle fucking Derek. My dad. He’s my responsibility.”
Angel inwardly groaned. He thought they’d discussed this. He thought he’d made an impact in getting Danny over his trauma. “No he’s not. Don’t be ridiculous. Frank’s responsible for his own actions. You were caught up in it, you never meant anyone harm, you saved the day.”
Danny scrunched up his nose. “Why are you here again? Want me to stop so you can get out? There’s a layby just ahead.”
“I swear I will punch you in the throat. I’ll just – I’ll punch you in the throat, Danny.”
“Go on, make my day.”
“I am here for you, why don’t you get that?”
“Then stop going on at me. Be here, be there, be everywhere for all I care, just let me to get on with what I’ve got to do.”
“Fine. I’ll be quiet. I’ll shoot when asked to shoot-”
Danny interrupted, voice hurried and persuasive. “There won’t be any shooting.”
“Not a shot.”
Angel gazed up at the upholstered ceiling and mentally cursed the ground Frank Butterman limped over.
Angel half expected a journey that would span hours, ending up in the upper reaches of Wales, or further - Scotland, or maybe to the other side of the country, perhaps over the sea to Ireland. But they arrived in Somerset within a short time.
“If you don’t mind me asking, how did you get Wells, Somerset out of ‘this is my punishment’?”
“I know how his mind works.”
“Couldn’t I work something like that out?”
“Of course you could,” Angel said, impatience and indignation in his tone and posture. “Look, why do you keep attacking me?”
“You’re the one said I had stuffing for brains.”
“I never said that!”
“You thought it.”
“I didn’t. I never have. Everything you’ve said about me today is wrong. I thought you knew how I felt, Danny.”
Danny gave a short, fake laugh. “You have feelings?”
“Yeah. Like, right now, I’m seriously pissed off. And later on, depending on whether you decide to snap out of this or not, I might be cheerful or morbidly depressed.”
“You want me to be happy Danny all the time, all the personality of an action hero. I like movies, Nick, but I don’t belong in one.”
Angel softened his tone. “You know, you might be right. Maybe I do want happy Danny all the time. I like to see you happy. When you’re sad, I’m sad. It’s stupid. It’s simplistic. But it’s true.”
Danny pulled into a parking space in front of a vet’s with a screech of tyres and undid his seatbelt.
“Stay here if you like.”
“No, I’m coming with you.”
Danny shook his head and looked at Angel with cold eyes. “I’m only asking for directions.”
Danny closed the door with more force than was necessary. The crash sent a jolt through Angel’s system. He tapped a steady rhythm on the dashboard, disgruntledly working out his frustration in 3/4 time. He wasn’t used to this tension between them and it was fraying on his nerves.
Danny was gone fifteen minutes. Getting in-depth directions, obviously. Complicated directions. Hopefully they’d get lost and have to spend the night under the stars, forget about any troubles they were having by engaging in a six hour long discussion of the action sequences in the Star Trek movies.
Danny re-joined Angel wordlessly. Angel decided it was speak now, or forever hold this war.
“Danny, I’m sorry.”
Danny stared fixedly out of the window. “S’alright.”
“No, I need you to know I mean it,” Angel said. He placed his hand on Danny’s sleeve and willed him to look into his face. “I’m sorry if I haven’t been very understanding or accommodating. I’m sorry if I’ve expected too much of you, or not expected enough, or bored you senseless…”
“Bored me? Nick, you’re off the fucking chart. I wake up most mornings wishing I could be half as brilliant as you, but if I can’t be you, might as well be next to you, right?”
The anger that had been steadily increasing with their arguments tore through Angel’s body. “You want to be me? You want to be me? Do you have any idea what it’s like being me? Before you came along, Danny, I was an empty husk of a man.”
“What about all those stories? High speed pursuits and getting stabbed in the hand.”
“They didn’t mean anything to me, don’t you get that? They only meant something to you. Everything you see in me is what I am. You make me who I am. I can’t believe you haven’t figured that out yet. I wake up every morning wishing I could be half as brilliant as you.”
Danny gave his first proper grin of the day. “That’s good to know, because I’ll be asking you to risk your life for me later on.”
Angel grinned back, relief mixing with conflicted emotion. “At least you’ll be asking for once.”
Whilst driving, Danny explained that when he was very young they used to visit some friends who stayed at a large cottage called ‘The Whipping Inn’. It was hundreds of years old, still seemed to have the smell of hops and woodfire smoke.
They were almost there when Angel indicated to an obstruction in their path. Trees on either side, a sharp curve and no easy way of getting the car through.
“Whu..?” Danny started, before realising what it was. “Why’s there a cow in the middle of the road?”
“We’re in the country?”
“There wouldn’t normally be one lone cow, thought you’d know that by now.”
Angel shrugged. “Maybe it’s an outcast? Doesn’t get along with any of the other cows?”
Danny got out of the car with determination. Angel mirrored his actions. They could just walk, but both of them had silently decided they wanted a motorised means of escape as close by as possible.
“I'm gonna bust that bitch so hard she bounces,” Danny said, cracking his knuckles.
“One of these days I’m going to get you to write those lines down,” Angel said, moving alongside him as he pressed his hands on the flank of the beast.
Danny pushed the cow, who did little but blink. “That one’s not mine.”
Angel pushed too. “Oh?”
They pushed together as Danny spoke. The bell around the cow’s neck rung out loudly. “You mentioned it earlier.”
The cow finally began to move, albeit in a slow and unimpressed manner. Angel found himself short of breath as they shuffled towards a gap between the trees. “Mentioned what?”
“The movie it’s from,” Danny said, dusting off his hands and nodding, as if to say, ‘job well done.’
Danny rolled his eyes affectionately and got back into the car.
When they turned the corner they could see that the door was wide open. All of Angel’s training and instincts were screaming the word ‘trap’ at him, but there was nothing he could say that would change Danny’s mind.
They entered the cottage, Angel using his finely tuned senses to detect danger. Extensive searching ensued, but Frank was nowhere to be found amongst the rustic charm.
“There’s a barn,” Danny said, almost absent-mindedly.
They trampled over weeds and unmown grass to the wooden structure at the back of the cottage, Angel feeling an ominous tingling in his fingers. He patted the weaponry by his side to ease his nerves.
As they stepped through the door a paint can came swinging towards Danny’s head. Angel leapt up and pushed Danny to the ground with a resounding thump. The can crashed against a pillar and exploded in an orange blaze. The fire went out as quickly as it had appeared, but Angel still stared at the spot distrustfully. His attention was diverted by Frank’s voice echoing with a distinctly disturbing cheerful lilt.
“You came, how kind. I hope you enjoyed your reception.”
Angel waited for Danny to speak, but Danny had lost his resolve and was shifting from foot to foot.
“Frank, we’re here to… help you,” Angel called into the space.
“Is that the best you can do, Sergeant Angel? Oh no, forgive me, it’s Inspector now, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Angel replied, awkwardly. He was attempting to judge Frank’s position, but the acoustics of the barn were throwing him off.
Suddenly, the ground beneath Angel’s feet started to rattle and shift and he looked down to see that there was a metal plate beneath the straw. A metal plate from which sharp metal spikes were emerging.
He grabbed hold of Danny’s hand and jumped to the right, nearly into the path of an onslaught of arrows. One grazed the top of his arm and tore through his shirt.
Soon, they were boxed in – there was space all around them, but that was filled with contraptions designed to maim and kill. Danny kept quiet all this time, but he was standing just ahead of Angel, staring steadfastly into the rafters. Angel followed his line of sight and saw Frank sitting there, a sniper rifle grasped between chubby hands.
“I don’t want to shoot you, son, but I will if you don’t get out of my way. I intend to kill your little friend.”
Danny fixed his stance, his mouth a tight, thin line. “It’s over, Dad. It was over a long time ago. Only, you won’t accept that, will you? You don’t know how to let go of the past.”
“No, Daniel, I don’t. You did, though, didn’t you? Easily. You said goodbye with a wave of your hand and that was that.”
“You’re wrong. It’s never been easy. But you have to do it, you have to move on.”
“I disagree. Now, move.”
Danny didn’t move. Angel pushed lightly at the small of his back, feeling suddenly that if he didn’t shift it, Frank was going to do exactly as he’d said, and he still didn’t budge an inch. Frank got them into his sights and aimed the gun.
The shot cracked through the air. Angel was forced to the side by Danny stumbling backwards. Angel span and screamed at the top of his lungs. Danny was on the ground unmoving, blood dripping down a gash at his temple. Angel swung around violently, running on pure adrenaline. “I’m gonna fucking kill you.”
There was a slow rasping sound, a noise like something rushing through the air at high speed, and everything went black.
Angel hadn’t yet opened his eyes, but he could tell he was tied up with duct tape and rope. His chest was aching, the skin seared, his lungs compacted. There was something sticky winding its way down his cheek.
“I know you’re awake,” Frank’s voice said. Angel lifted his eyelids and stared at the mock-benevolent features.
“Your skills of observation are astounding.”
So were Angel’s and he wasn’t even able to turn his head, tape and rope fixed in such a way to keep him still. Frank had a knife in his hand, was carefully winding it around, tracing the sharp edge. Danny was lying off to the side, so all Angel could see of him was within the severe limits of his peripheral vision.
“I thought I’d cut out your tongue, first. Stop you from making those little speeches on procedure.” Frank tilted his head to the side. “Then maybe stab the knife into your stomach a few times, let you bleed internally for a while…”
Angel tried to roll his head back, but was met with resistance. He was working at dislocating his shoulder, tendons and ligaments tearing. He had a horrible feeling this was the end of the line.
Frank continued. “…Hang you up, ‘til you’re even whiter. Something vicious, anyway. Something to live up to what you think of me.”
“I think you were a good man, once, Frank, but you became perverted.”
“In some, it’s bravery, in others, it’s perversion,” Frank scoffed, steadying the blade by Angel’s lips.
Angel spoke rapidly, half because he was terrified and half because he wanted to keep his tongue safe and secure in his mouth. “Frank, you don’t have to do this. You know that.”
“You took everything from me, Nicholas. Everything.”
“No, Dad,” Danny croaked, rising slowly but steadily. Angel took a deep, gulping breath, his heart racing. “You did that to yourself.”
Danny flicked his hand and Angel had no idea what was going on. As if in slow motion, something hurtled towards Frank’s chest. After a terrifyingly short moment Frank collapsed in a crumple amongst the straw. Danny remained static, not checking if he was alive, but Angel could tell Frank was still breathing. Little seemed to be amiss, except for the fact he was out like a light and there was a clear thin object sticking out of his torso.
Angel wrenched his head up and to the side and scrutinized Danny. “What the shit was that?”
“I wasn’t just asking for directions at that vet’s.”
“I…” Angel paused. “Okay. Remind me never to mess with you, Danny Butterman.”
“I learn from the best.”
“… do you mean me? Or him?”
Danny grinned, stumbling over and bending down to undo the ropes around Angel’s wrists. “I’ll leave that for you to decide.”
Frank came to when they were ten minutes away from the station. He was handcuffed and tied, so Angel didn’t feel too worried. The look in his eyes was so forlorn, Angel almost felt sorry for him.
He spoke softly, with a crusty edge of bitterness and age. “I wanted you to kill me, Danny.”
“I thought you might’ve,” Danny said over his shoulder. “I couldn’t do that.”
Frank practically cried. “Why not?”
“I love you, you murdering, single-minded, old sod.”
“I wished you’d loved me enough to kill me.”
The car stopped and they got out. Danny pressed a photograph into Frank’s hand, sorrow in the soft curve of his smile, as Frank was put back in his cell.
They had once more saved the day, but in many ways it felt like a hollow victory. Danny was quiet and Angel didn’t know what to say to make him feel better. He decided it was better not to say anything, but just to be there.
Every muscle in Angel’s body was sore. He gently groaned as Danny settled next to him on the sofa.
“You look like shit warmed up.”
“Bet you feel like shit too.”
Angel went to nod, but before he could complete the action a piercing dart of pain shot down his spine. “Mmmm.”
“I would, but I’m afraid I might break something if I move.”
Danny smiled a smile that made Angel’s stomach clench – he could have lost this, lost them, but he didn’t, they were here now, safe now - and any form of discomfort he was feeling disappeared.
That didn’t mean he was going to ignore what he’d been offered. He shuffled closer and Danny’s large and surprisingly skilled hands set to work, easing at flesh that was weak and unwilling. Angel drifted to happy places as Danny’s fingers rubbed, prodded and stroked above the cotton of his shirt.
Angel turned around and flung his arms wide. He encased Danny in a hug.
Danny held him back. “You great big softie,” he chuckled, his tone thick and warm.
“Thank you,” Angel said, voice quiet, but sentiment strong.
“Any time,” Danny replied.
They sat back and Danny pressed the play button. Bon Cop, Bad Cop flickered onto the screen.
“You said this was a buddy cop movie, right, Nick?”
“Why are there subtitles?”
“It’s a mixture of English Canadian and French Canadian.”
“I don’t think you’ve fully understood the whole concept of buddy cops.”
Angel grinned. “You might be right. I might need you to continue teaching me. But, for now, just watch the film.”