Remix: Brittle (The Two Men, Touching Remix) [Val/Dan, Duck/Dan, 216 words, rated PG], by akamine_chan
Through the streaked glass of the front door, Val saw Dan talking to a stranger, a tall, lean man. He wore dirty coveralls over a ripped t-shirt and Val's lip curled in distaste. Probably a local, looking for work.
The stranger reached out his hand and Dan took it, shook it and the scene froze, stretching endlessly, a still life: Two Men, Touching.
Bitterness rose in the back of her throat and her spine straightened while the smile on her face grew hard and brittle. Her anger seeped into her hands and she convulsively clutched at the sandwich she'd made for Dan, squashing it a little.
She opened the door and stepped inside the store, the lingering smell of paint still strong. A faint tension radiated from the two men. She ignored it, pretended not to notice. "We were out of ham, but I made - oh, hello."
Nodding as Dan introduced his new "friend," she stepped between the stranger and her husband, establishing her territory. "What can we do for you?" she asked brightly, vacuously, putting Dan's sandwich on the counter.
After the stranger left, she gave Dan a hard look. So much for his promise to change, to be a better husband. For some reason, she wasn't terribly surprised.