A/N: As evidenced by the subject matter, I started this story a while ago but like several other stories it ended up sitting in my "unfinished stories" folder for a while. I've just recently gone back to it & decided it needed finishing! Thankfully my muses decided to help me out.
He wanted to go home. Problem was, home wasn't all that much of a comfort these days. It was like a prison of sorts. He was all alone there. Trapped and useless. But maybe it would feel different now. Now that he'd come back to work and had some sort of purpose again. Of course, after Jack's words that he was adding another agent to the team the useless feeling was rearing its ugly head again.
By the time he finally finished his paperwork it was dark outside and he was fairly miserable. Pain was a factor he refused to consider, had mentally willed himself past it but so late in the day now it was beginning to fight through.
"Hey Martin...are you all right?"
He turned around, wincing as an especially strong jolt of pain ran through him. Danny's voice was soft, his eyes full of a concern Martin didn't want to see. Where had that concern been for the last six weeks? He nodded once and turned around again, slowly making his way to the elevators. "Fine. Good night Danny."
Trust Danny to be persistent and follow after him.
"I heard Jack telling you about adding a new agent," Danny said, looking uncertain in a way Martin had never seen before. Maybe it was just his imagination.
"And?" Martin asked. He didn't want to talk to Danny, not about this. Not about anything really. All he wanted was to go home and sleep. Maybe if he were lucky the world would disappear before he woke up.
Danny frowned slightly and shook his head. "Just...are you okay? Anything you want to talk about?" he asked, tentatively.
Martin pressed the button for the elevator and shook his head. "Nope. Listen Danny, I'm beat so I'll see you tomorrow okay?" he said, knowing his voice was short, almost angry, but he couldn't bring himself to care. When the elevator came, he got on and hit the button for the ground floor, manners forcing him to throw a half hazard "good night" over his shoulder to the other man.
On the short ride down he began seething, Danny's words - Danny's concern - making him furious. He'd been desperate for Danny's concern for weeks and now? Too little, too late. His apology in the hall earlier notwithstanding - an apology Martin had no choice but to accept. How was he supposed to tell Danny how he really felt? Abandoned and unimportant...like he meant nothing to the other man.
By the time he got home, changed and scrounged around in his kitchen cupboards for something to eat - a can of soup - he was feeling predictably melancholy. The sadness left him feeling bitter and angry because he didn't want to feel this way. He hated it. He hated the sadness, the loneliness that was almost crushing at times. He hated the pain that was sometimes impossible and he hated the lingering fear...the nightmares that plagued him no matter what he did.
It was nearing eleven when a loud buzzing startled him from his thoughts. He turned off the TV - the news was depressing anyway - and got up, grimacing in pain as he reached for his cane and slowly made his way to the door. "What?" he snapped as he pressed the button, wondering whom on earth would be coming to visit him now.
"It's Danny, I...I have pizza," he said, voice sounding strangely hopeful.
Martin sighed and shut his eyes, leaning forward until his forehead touched the wall next to the intercom. He wanted to ignore him, to just walk away, crawl into bed and not give Danny a word of explanation. He also wanted to tell him to leave. To leave and not come back. Ever. But something made him hit the buzzer for the door. Maybe he wanted to confront Danny on his seeming abandonment. A small part of him still wanted everything to boil down to some logical explanation he hadn't thought of yet. But judging from Danny's shaky and pathetic apology from earlier in the day, he doubted there was one. Maybe he was just tired of being alone and any company would be welcome. Or maybe he just wanted pizza. Laughing bitterly, he unlocked the door and waited, not willing to sit down and get up again when Danny came to the door. It required too much movement.
When Danny knocked, Martin opened the door and motioned him inside, although he was well aware that his expression was less than inviting. Seeing Danny, a small smile on his face, eyes warm...it made Martin angrier than he already was. And although he was secretly grateful for the pizza, he simmered inwardly as Danny talked - babbling on about things Martin was sure he had no interest in. It didn't help that Danny seemed nervous - thus all the babbling. Martin didn't care about Danny's nervousness or his attempt at making amends, if that's what this was. His hurt ran deep...deep and right alongside all of his fear and loneliness. This wasn't something that Danny could make up with a few smiles, a box of pizza and tentative conversation. It hurt too much.
He wasn't sure how much time had gone by, only knew he hadn't said a word and Danny was still talking, the two of them sitting side by side on Martin's couch, the TV on in the background. He turned slightly, facing Danny now and when Danny's eyes met his, he stopped talking. The silence stretched into something awkward and almost painful and Martin began to wonder if he stared long enough that Danny would just leave. Because where part of him wanted to confront him, mostly he just wanted to be left alone. Alone like he'd been for six long weeks now.
"Are you all right?" Danny asked softly. He shifted slightly closer, his hand reaching out, dangerously close, almost touching Martin's own which lay on the back of the couch.
It was that soft, gentle concern that did it...concern Martin could tell was genuine; it just broke everything loose and he snapped. "What, you're worried?" he asked, eyes narrowing, lips twisting into a cruel kind of smile. "Funny that you'd be worried now," he went on. "I mean, I almost died and you couldn't be bothered to come and see me even once. Not once," he said, voice rising, anger heating his words and his cheeks. It was too much to hold back.
"I'm sorry," Danny whispered, looking downward. Martin thoroughly enjoyed the way his eyes had widened, the way, for once, it was Danny who was blushing from embarrassment - shame and guilt even - and lowering his gaze.
"You said that already, this afternoon, and your apology was lame at best," he snapped in response. "Just one time I would've liked for you to have come to see me, called me even! Even after I was home and out of the hospital...still nothing."
"No, you can't possibly have an excuse!" he yelled, sitting up straighter now, hands squeezing tightly into fists. "I almost died," he repeated, his body trembling slightly with the effort of holding back his fear. The last thing he wanted was for that fear to color his words, to make his voice shake...he no longer wanted Danny's sympathy. "And you didn't care."
Danny's head snapped up at that, his brown eyes shining with unshed tears. He shook his head, eyes pleading with Martin for something. There was a part of Martin, one that he buried deep down for the moment, that wanted to reach out to him. He could see the way his words were affecting Danny...could see the sorrow in his eyes and that part of him hated it. "I did...I do care Fitz..." he murmured.
"Obviously not much," Martin scoffed, glad when Danny flinched, his anger only intensifying at the use of Danny's nickname for him. He leaned closer to Danny now, cruel smile on his lips again, eyes dark and unyielding. "Do you know what my first words were when I woke up?" he asked.
Danny shook his head, eyes cast downward again.
"I asked about you," he said, voice dark, almost a whisper now. "I asked if you were okay, if you'd been shot too. After a while, I started to think that they were lying to me, that you had really died and they didn't want to tell me yet so as not to jeopardize my recovery or something. But you were fine, weren't you?" he sneered. "Just had better things to do than see if I lived or died." He hoped he didn't sound like a spoiled child, but mostly he didn't care. It wasn't as if he were angry at Danny for taking the last cup of coffee or for teasing him about something. No, he felt fully justified in his anger and really, just didn't care what he sounded like. And if Danny only knew what the anger was covering up. The hurt and despair...the feelings that ran so deep and had wounded him in ways he wasn't sure would ever heal. Because Danny meant so much to him, had for such a long time now and although he'd kept that well hidden - even from himself sometimes - it couldn't help surfacing now.
Danny still hadn't said anything and Martin figured it was just as well. He stood up and crossed the room, heading towards the hallway. There wasn't anything more he could say. His anger was all but spent and the rest of his feelings, well...he wasn't going to show any of those to Danny. "I'm tired and I'm going to bed. Lock the door on your way out...if it's not too much trouble," he added, one last barb...childish, he knew, but not caring.
He walked slowly down the hallway, leaning heavily on his cane, wincing at the pain that shot through him. He didn't listen to see when Danny left, just trusted that he would. He took double the recommended dose of Tylenol - not liking the way the prescription pain pills made him feel - pulled on an old t-shirt and climbed into bed, wishing that he'd wake up to something different, something easier than what he was living through now.
He couldn't say if it was minutes or hours later when he felt the bed dip behind him, heard his name being softly whispered. He turned over on his side, eyes widening in surprise upon seeing Danny. Danny in his bed, unexpectedly close, an aching sort of desperation in his eyes. He nearly flinched when Danny ran his fingers up Martin's arm, so soft as they came higher and brushed across his cheek.
"I'm sorry Fitz...so sorry," he repeated softly, leaning closer, his head inches from Martin's own. Too shocked to move, he swallowed hard, watching Danny closely. It was unnerving at best having him this close, having him in his bed, fingers touching him, heat blatant and inviting and all Martin had to do was lean in.
He whimpered softly when Danny kissed him, not sure if it was from pleasure or sadness. Because this was what he had wanted for so long. Danny's arms coming around him as they kissed…their mouths fitting together perfectly, tongues softly exploring, making him lightheaded with the feel of it. Danny's body against his, warm and strong and so very inviting. But it was everything and it was nothing. It was painful and Martin knew, knew without a doubt, that it would only make things worse.
He broke away, reluctantly nonetheless, pulling back so that they weren't touching in any way. He took a few minutes to let his breathing return to normal, to hold himself in check and keep his hands to himself - no matter how much they wanted to reach out and touch Danny's soft skin again. He waited a bit more, convincing himself further that this was so very, very wrong.
"So you're going to make everything better with sex, is that right?" he asked, voice shaking, something he couldn't control no matter how hard he tried. He watched the pain flicker blatantly across Danny's eyes, saw him shake his head. "Just get out Danny...now," he added when Danny made no move to leave. "Go," he pleaded, turning onto his back and looking up at the ceiling, forcing his eyes to stay on the same spot.
He felt Danny's hesitance and prayed desperately that he wouldn't protest, that he would just go because Martin couldn't handle anymore. He stayed as still as he could, biting down harshly on his lower lip as Danny slowly got out of bed and made his way towards the bedroom door. Martin felt the other man's eyes on him, knew he was hesitating in the doorway and still he said nothing, continuing to stare at the ceiling. He only released his breath when he heard the apartment door close.
The tears came quickly and strongly then, harsh sobs following as he turned on his side and buried his face in the pillow he hugged tightly to him. Danny's scent lingered there, only making things worse. He cried until he couldn't breathe, until the tears were gone but the sobs continued.
The one thing he'd wanted for years now, was Danny. He'd fallen for Danny so easily, so quickly that he'd never even had a chance to resist. And there had been so many times that were so close but never enough. Nights they'd spent together, strictly as friends, but always with a hint of something else lingering between them. Frustrated, he'd eventually gone out with Sam, trying his best to put all those unresolved feelings behind him. Instead he'd only succeeded in pushing them away for a while, and at the same time he'd lost a little of his closeness with Danny.
But now, to have Danny here with him, kissing him, holding him...when Martin didn't know if it was genuine or just because he felt guilty. It was too much. It hurt even more than Danny's abandonment and he couldn't handle it…it broke his heart.
Martin stayed away after that. He resisted all of Danny's attempts to talk with him, always refused him when he asked him to go out and get food, rarely even talked to him unless it had something to do with a case. He knew Danny was trying – wondered how long before he'd stop – and part of him wanted to give him a chance. But that night lingered in his mind. Martin knew he hadn't given Danny much of a chance to talk, but there had been a few moments and all Danny had done was apologize. He hadn't attempted an explanation, just apology after apology. And then…well the kiss was something else that lingered for Martin, but he refused to let himself think for too long on it.
The kiss had been good. Short, but good. And if he thought about it for too long he always ended up with thoughts he knew would never come to fruition. There were times he looked at Danny and would swear he was able to feel his fingers on his skin, Danny's soft lips against his own. Occasionally he found himself wondering why Danny had done it, if it had been guilt that led him to that kiss, or something more. But he never stayed with those thoughts too long, preferring instead to remain calm, stoic and unfeeling. It was easier. Because if he opened up those wounds again he was afraid he'd never heal.
Not even after he fell and hurt his hip, only aggravating what he'd worked so hard to recover in physical therapy, did he seek anyone out. Not Sam, not Viv…especially not Danny. He saw concern in Danny's eyes that night…concern and fear and it had nearly made him give in. Danny lingered near the ambulance, far enough away that he wasn't hovering, but close nonetheless. Martin glanced over occasionally, frustrated with the paramedics desire to take him to the hospital, when all he really wanted was to go home and sleep. But he always met Danny's eyes and the other man never looked away, something deeper flickering over his face that made Martin's chest tighten.
The pain was somehow sharper this time, and with the return of the pain came the return of his nightmares. They'd let up for a time, only an occasional occurrence, but now they returned in full force, threatening him nightly until he was afraid to go to sleep. The Vicodin was a welcome oblivion at first, taking away the pain in a way nothing else could and relaxing him enough to sleep soundly through the night. They became easier and easier to take, which was why he began popping two at a time. The pills were a comfort where there usually was none. They let him work without the pain, they let him sleep – dreamlessly – and they kept him from feeling alone and scared.
When they'd started becoming a necessity he didn't know, but he wasn't overly concerned. His doctor had prescribed it after all and it wasn't like he couldn't stop taking them any time he wanted to. To prove that exact point he'd thrown them away at the office and had gone about his day.
It wasn't until later, when he started having trouble concentrating on Vivian's words, when his breathing became shallow and shaky did he realize he may have acted hastily. Not that it was a problem, but, looking back, it had been a stupid idea to get rid of the pills in the first place. After all, they made things so much easier so why stop taking them?
A small moment of panic when he realized that the bottle was no longer in his garbage can, but he quickly suppressed the feeling and thought rationally. There seemed to be something very wrong about rooting through the trash to find a bottle of pills but for the life of him he couldn't figure out why he felt that way. Or why he felt the need to glance around and make sure no one was watching him. After all, they were his pills.
A few weeks later he was trembling, sweating and holding a gun. In no instances could he think of that combination being a good idea. But it wasn't his fault, not really. If the pharmacy hadn't been so adamant in not refilling his prescription, he would've had the pills and he could've taken one – or two – before he came to Gina Hill's house.
It wasn't until afterwards that things started to unravel. When he saw himself in her bathroom mirror, dark circles under his eyes, worn out, tired expression – a face he hardly recognized. Sweaty and desperate, he dug through her collection of orange pill bottles, seeking out something familiar and comforting. But it was pure horror he felt as he watched himself take one – unbelieving almost – as he slipped the bottle into his pocket. He went back to the office briefly that night, gathering a few things, feeling that at any second someone was going to accuse him, was going to call him on what he'd done…and why. The telltale heart beating firmly in his pocket. But he made it out of the building without a word from anyone. He stopped, after walking several blocks from work, and opened up the bottle, hands shaking badly as he poured out two pills. He couldn't do it. Couldn't bring himself to take them. They weren't his, had never been his and he suddenly felt sick. He knew what he was doing, could see clearly for the first time in months, exactly what he was doing.
And it terrified him.