Author's Note: Well, my anger at the cliffhanger we've been left with as a series finale has pushed my muse into action and I have a new story for you all.
This isn't really my take on how I'd like to see the series end, this is more of a jump to what could happen. It's the story that popped into my head, so I went with it.
I hope you enjoy and, of course, reply to let me know what you think.
I know other people have been trying to get the word out here, but I'm going to as well... if you're angry about the ending NBC has left us with and want to help out with the campaign, send me a PM and I'll get you the info about it. Thanks!
Danny McCoy sighed and pushed aside the papers laying on his desk in front of him; not in a neat, I'm finished with these kind of way, but in a, I don't give a shit anymore kind of way. He frowned as he looked around his office, taking in the mess that seemed to accumulate by the hour. His eyes landed on the blanket that had slipped and was now laying half on, half off the couch; his bed for the past couple of days. He put his head down on the desk and closed his eyes.
The past three years were a blur and he wasn't really entirely sure how he had made it to where he was right now.
His eyes opened and landed on the picture frame sitting in the corner of his desk. Reaching out a hand, his fingers brushed lightly over the glass.
The sound of a knock and his office door opening brought Danny back to reality. He blinked and looked up, unsure of how long he had been laying like that. His eyes met Cooper's and he wearily rubbed his eyes.
"Danny, you're a mess." Cooper stated matter-of-factly, before crossing the room and making himself comfortable on the couch; picking up the falling blanket in the process.
Danny pushed his chair back and stood up. As he did, he caught his appearance in the reflection of a glass framed painting on the wall. He hadn't shaved in more than a week and was way overdue for a haircut. He had been wearing the same suit for at least two days and it showed. He self-consciously reached up and buttoned his collar and tightened his tie, smoothing it as he finished.
Cooper shook his head. "Don't bother." The owner of the Montecito crossed his legs and stared his employee down. "How long has it been since you've been home?"
Danny opened his mouth to answer, but quickly fell short, as he couldn't remember. "Um…" He did a little mental math and frowned. "Since Tuesday."
Cooper sat forward and leaned his elbows on his knees. "Danny, its Friday morning!" He shook his head and stared at the floor. After a few minutes of silence he looked back up. "Are you avoiding being there?"
"No!" Danny shook his head quickly. "No, it's just…" He indicated the growing pile of paperwork on the desk. "Things have gotten out of hand and I can't seem to catch up…"
"The casino is running fine." Cooper interrupted.
"I know. It's the back work, from…" Danny let his gaze fall from his boss's and stared at the floor.
"That long?" Cooper questioned with genuine concern. "Danny, why didn't you tell me? I could get you someone to help out. At least for a little while." He jumped to add the last part at Danny's look. He knew Danny wouldn't ask for help, he wanted to take care of things all on his own.
Cooper stood up and smoothed his pants legs. "Look, this can't keep happening." He indicated the state of the office and its occupant. "This is the third time in as many months that I've found you're sleeping here. Go home."
"Cooper, I'm on top of things. I promise…" Danny stopped talking as Cooper started shaking his head.
Danny sighed and sat back on the edge of his desk.
Cooper closed the distance between them and put his hand on Danny's shoulder. "I know that things at home are hard. I know that these three years have been…" He paused, trying to think of the right word. "Difficult."
Danny let his head drop and he closed his eyes. "I miss her so much. Everyday."
Cooper dropped his hand back to his side and averted his eyes. After a few minutes, he heard Danny pulling himself back together. "Okay, here's what's going to happen." He looked up and found that Danny was watching him. "I'm going to hire an assistant for you, part time, to work on all of the back paper work. There's no reason for you to be using your time doing that."
Danny nodded, reluctant to hand the reigns of any part of his job over.
"And…" Cooper continued. "You are taking two weeks off." He held up his hand, stopping Danny's angry response. "Two weeks. And when you come back, you better look like a human being again."
Cooper turned and walked back to the door. "I can't have my President of Operations looking like some homeless guy." He opened the door and left.
Jillian finished washing the sink full of dishes that had been waiting for her and checked her watch. It was past nine at night.
She sighed and crossed into the living room. Looking around, she marveled at how she still felt uneasy in this house.
When she had left Las Vegas with Ed, she had only been gone a matter of months, and now she had been back twice as long, but it still felt weird. Perhaps it was because without Ed around, there was no real need for a house this large… not that there ever had been.
She walked over to the fire place and looked at the pictures on the mantle. Her fingers lovingly brushed across the face in one of them.
Lost in her memories, Jillian didn't realize how long she had been standing there. Hearing the front door open and close, she picked up her head and looked at the clock.
"It's almost ten o'clock. Where have you been?" She crossed the room and went into the kitchen. "And where have you been for the past four days?"
Danny frowned and looked down at his shoes. "I'm sorry." He sighed and looked up, meeting her eyes. "I… work, it just got out of hand."
Jillian shook her head and pulled a stool out from under the lip of the counter, sitting down. "Danny, I have no responsibility to tell you you're screwing up, but you are."
He pulled his tie off and stuffed it in his pocket. "I know I am." He leaned against the counter for a minute before sliding down and sitting on the floor.
Jillian stood up and came around the island, squatting down in front of him. She rested her hands on his knees; the despair in his eyes making her heart ache. "I can only imagine how lost you're feeling. But it's not too late, I promise it's not."
Danny wiped his hands over his eyes and let his head drop back against the cabinet he was leaning on. "Cooper is making me take two weeks off."
"Good." Jillian smiled and took both of Danny's hands in hers. She squeezed them and then helped him to his feet. "It's been a bad day."
"It's been a bad four days." He said with a wary grin.
Jillian laughed. "Which means tomorrow will be better." She smiled. "I think these two weeks are exactly what you need."
Danny nodded and rubbed the back of his neck.
Jillian reached up and tucked a piece of his hair behind his ear. "Get yourself cleaned up and you'll feel better. I promise."
Danny leaned over and kissed her cheek. "I don't know what I would do without you."
Jillian just smiled and rubbed his back as he crossed out of the kitchen.
Danny pulled himself slowly up the back stairs and quietly pushed open the first door he came to. Finding himself truly smiling for the first time in several days, he walked inside and sat down on the floor next to the little bed.
Looking over at his three year old son felt like a huge weight was falling from him. Everything that had kept him at work for too long disappeared as he reached over and brushed his fingers over the sleeping boy's shaggy blond hair.
"I've been neglecting you." Danny shook his head. "That's got to stop."
Standing up, he reached down and picked the boy up, snuggling him against his chest. "Come on Jakey. Let's thank Grandma Jill for watching you and go home."