Warnings: reading this fic might conjure a sugar shock, consider yourself warned!
Summary: in the light of dawn the world looks differently and some things are clearer to see
Disclaimer: not mine, no harm done, no money made
A Different View
Awareness came to him slowly. He felt too warm and protected under the thick blankets for wanting to fully wake up. Something was missing, though. Making his bed and the feel of it less than perfect. His eyes still closed he sent one hand out searching by his side and came up empty.
Rolling over Martin sluggishly opened his eyes and stared at the space where Danny should have been. But wasn't. Frowning he tried to come up with a good reason for his partner not to be at his side.
It was still too early in the morning. Martin could tell without looking at the alarm clock on the bedside table, which was obscured by one of Danny's books anyway. No, the light filtering through the windows was too greyish, too much darkness mixed into it, for it to be time to get up. Not without a phone call from Jack and someone missing.
Martin was sure one of their phones ringing would have woken him, he was too attuned to it, his reaction immediate. So no work related emergency. Danny wouldn't have let him keep sleeping then anyway.
No sounds coming from the bathroom, either. Or from the rest of the apartment for that matter. Had Danny left? Why and where to? Now Martin started to worry.
Climbing out of the bed, shivering when the cold air hit his exposed skin and not caring as he wondered where his lover might be. He checked the bathroom, just to be sure. The room was empty and looked like he had left it the night before. Absently he noted all of Danny's things were still where they should be and released a breath Martin hadn't known he was holding.
Walking along the corridor leading to the rest of the apartment, he mused how different this place looked in the half light of early morning. Strange, alien and cold. He shivered again, but this time it had nothing to do with the fact that he had forgotten to put on some clothes and everything with the paranoia creeping up on him.
The kitchen was first. But no sign of Danny here. The empty cartons from their Chinese take out still standing on the counter together with dishes and glasses they had used as neither of them had felt like cleaning up last night. They had both been too tired and worn out after work and had agreed that, for once, it could simply wait until the next day. Usually both men were tidy to a fault, even Danny who looked anything but with his tussled hair – which was actually carefully styled to look that way – and crooked grin.
On the outside, Martin knew, they couldn't be more opposite if they tried. He had been quite surprised himself when he had learned how much they had in common really. They had both a tight rein on their personal life, tried to control as much as possible; everything they showed others about them a carefully crafted mask and they hated nothing more but when those masks slipped in an unguarded moment. The only distinction was that where Martin did everything to look professional and trustworthy, Danny wanted people to underestimate him. He had told Martin as much once. Had said it made life easier for him, because the expectations weren't as high and it was easier to catch a suspect unaware. Martin thought he was just selling himself cheap, but he knew why his partner did it and he knew that their boss long ago had seen through the act and appreciated him as the excellent agent Danny Taylor was.
The picture that greeted him when Martin entered the living room was an eerie one. His lover was sitting on the deep windowsill, wrapped in a blanket, staring down at the street beneath him. In his left hand he absently held a bottle. Martin's heart missed a beat and a knot of dread formed in the pit of his stomach. Slowly as not to startle the distracted man he inched closer. He was afraid to find out in which mood Danny might be, worse even, what had driven him to this point; and why the hell Martin hadn't noticed anything sooner.
He studied Danny's profile. His skin looked pale in the grey pre-dawn light, his features drawn. Martin couldn't see his eyes but he wished he could. With Danny they were truly windows to the soul and sometimes the only hint Martin got to the true feelings of his partner in work and life.
Still three feet away Martin nearly jumped out of his skin when the still form of his lover suddenly spoke to him, without turning around.
"Hey, Fitzy", Danny said to the window, his voice only slightly above a whisper.
Martin did his best to hide his surprise while covering the remaining space separating him from his lover; it felt like he was crossing a wide schism, stepping into whatever world Danny was hiding in at the moment.
Now standing next to him, Martin looked down at the street himself and wondered what Danny was seeing.
"Hey, you self. Missed you in bed." From the corner of his eyes he could see Danny turning his gaze towards him, contemplating him for a moment before he answered.
"Sorry, didn't want to worry you. Couldn't sleep and didn't want to wake you either."
Now Martin turned as well, finally able to look his partner in the eyes, confused about what he didn't see in them. No pain or fear. He didn't look, or sound for that matter, drunk, either. He looked melancholic, yes, but also contented, somehow. Martin risked a quick glance down at the dubious bottle, hoping Danny wouldn't notice.
Wouldn't notice the startled gasp and hot wave of guilt washing through him as he recognized the water bottle for what it was. How could he have been so wrong, coming to the worst of all conclusions?
Trying to hide what he was thinking, Martin managed a choked "Nightmares?".
Danny laughed. Not so much of humour but mirth and sarcasm. "No, surprisingly not. I just had to think about some things, good things for a change. And don't worry, Martin, I know how it must look like. I know how it feels like." He wiggled the bottle in his hand for emphasis.
Martin still felt guilty, though. He couldn't look at his partner nor did he know what to say. Better to keep quite and hope that Danny would continue talking. Martin really wanted to know what went on in his head, because he had no idea so far and that disturbed him more than he cared to admit.
"It's so much easier to see what you don't have, to wish for what others have. To complain about the shit you had to go through, you still have to go through. Why is it so much easier to feel bad about oneself and to remember only the worst and the pain, Martin?
"You know, eight years ago I kept sitting like this, gulping down whatever liquor was handy at the time, looking down at the people and hating everyone of them. Why me and not them? Why couldn't I have what they had?
"Then later, when I had finally managed to, well not get away from the alcohol but fighting it and every day without was a small victory, I still looked down at them with contempt. Why had life to be so goddamn hard for me, why couldn't I just live and enjoy it like everyone else did? I had to watch every step I did, analyze everything I thought.
"But not once did I question how I thought of others, my resentment against anyone how might have a better life than I did. True, most of the time you wouldn't notice what was really going on in my mind, I went to great lengths to make sure of that.
"Now it's different. Things have changed so much in the last year alone - and I'm not even talking about the alcohol. When I sit here now, looking down at the people on the street, I can see their pain as well. I can be glad for what I have, just enjoy the good times in my life. I know that many don't fare as well as I do now. I don't feel superior to them, either.
"Everyday I thank God for the second chance I got", a wistful smile graced Danny's features while he looked at Martin, "and I thank him for you."
Martin's heart warmed at those words. All fear and worry gone. He didn't dare to question what had brought this openness and willingness to share his thoughts on. But whatever had been the trigger, he was glad for it. Often he wondered what went on in his partner who kept his emotions way too close to himself. Not only had Danny told him more than he ever had in their time together, no, Martin could feel he wasn't finished yet, there was still more to come. He met his partner's eyes, showed him the love he felt for him and waited.
"You can't imagine how much easier it is to fight for you, Martin. As opposite to fighting against the whole of the world. You don't expect anything of me but being true to myself. You don't get angry with me for simply having a bad day once in a while nor do you berate me for hiding behind my masks. Bust most of all you show me your own pain and fear; when you feel insecure you let me help you. When you wake up from a nightmare you don't try to hide it from me, playing untouchable.
"Thank you for having faults and thank you for letting me have my own. For not making me feel less and for not having to be perfect around you."
Setting the bottle aside Danny grabbed his partner's hands and drew him closer, into the circle of his arms, enwrapping him with his own body heat and holding him while he finished: "I love you, Martin. Please, don't ever leave. Not without taking me with you."
There wasn't much Martin could say in return. Strictly speaking there was just one thing.
"Never." Martin scooped down to catch Danny's lips in a soft gentle kiss. Seal it with a kiss, sprung to his mind. He tried to express with one kiss what he himself never could say with a thousand words. What Danny meant to him in return and that leaving would never be an option. That he would take on the world for him if he had to, without a second thought. That while he regretted many things in his life, Danny Taylor wasn't one of them but the best that ever had happened to him.
The way Danny leaned into the kiss and his grip on him tightened, Martin knew he understood.