Warnings: this story contains alcohol use, self-harm, references to drug use and some coarse language. If this is not your thing, don't continue reading, all right? You've been officially warned.
He grabbed the bottle unsteadily by the neck and gulped greedily, not even tasting the alcohol anymore but feeling the burn creep steadily down and bloom in his stomach. Setting the bottle back down on the floor, he stared at it blearily, trying to remember how much had been in there before he started drinking. Had it been half full? Three quarters? It hadn't been a new bottle… had it? He couldn't remember.
As a matter of fact, he couldn't remember much of anything before he had started drinking.
That was fine. That was beyond fine, actually. That was just goddamn ducky, as far as he was concerned.
Miz flopped back on the floor, suddenly finding that it took far too much effort to sit upright. The bottle of Jack rattled, as if to gain his attention, but he ignored it. He felt fine. His hands, feet, legs, face and whatever else had taken off for Acapulco about twenty minutes ago. Or maybe thirty minutes ago. In either case, they were gone. The rest of him lay sprawled out on the floor, drifting on an ocean of brown carpet and watching the ceiling spin lazily. Or maybe it was standing still and he was the one spinning.
He closed his eyes for a moment, but that made him feel too dizzy. It made him almost want to clutch the carpet so he didn't fall off.
Fall off, that's a pretty funny thought. He let loose a rather high-pitched chuckle, sounding almost more stoned than drunk. Couldn't get stoned, nope. Not under contract. He'd had when he was younger – rather often, truth be told – and he missed it, but if they caught him, he'd be out of the WWE.
It wasn't worth the risk, and why all of a sudden did his midsection feel heavy? It wasn't the whiskey. Was it the WWE?
Miz's eyebrows furrowed at the ceiling. Was that why he was drinking? Had he been kicked out? He searched his memory the best he could… but no, as far as he could remember, he was still employed. Being employed was good.
He glanced over at the bottle, towering over him like a… well, like a tower. Looking huge and monumental from his floor-based angle. He thought about another swig, but decided that it would be too difficult to maneuver the bottle to his lips without spilling and was too much effort to sit up.
There was some left in the bottle; shouldn't let it go to waste. He could probably do it without spilling. The bottle was mostly empty anyway.
Slowly, he crabwalked his numb hand away from his body and clutched the square base of the glass bottle. Very slowly, mustering as much concentration as he could, he lifted the bottle and moved it carefully towards his face. Then, with as much precision as a doctor maneuvering a scalpel, he tilted it down towards his mouth and pressed the glass rim towards his lips.
A little more alcohol than he wanted rushed out of the bottle, causing him to cough as he tried to swallow it down. The bottle slipped out of his unfeeling hand and thumped back to the floor. Miz struggled to sit up, coughing harshly and feeling like he was suffocating, the burn in his throat choking him. He managed to get in a halfway-upright position, and slowly the painful sensation eased. His throat still burned and it now seemed like a good idea for some water.
Water was too far away; he wasn't even sure if he could stand at this point. Well, he could always crawl, no one was here to see him debase himself like that.
There was that heaviness again. Was someone supposed to be here with him? Thinking about that seemed like a bad idea. Think about water. Okay.
He carefully sat all the way up, drawing his legs up and resting his arms on his knees. There was dizziness for a moment, but then that disappeared. For the most part. He glanced at the bottle of Jack, but his burning throat wanted nothing to do with that at this point. There wasn't very much left of that bottle at all. How much had been in there when he started?
And why was he so drunk, anyway?
The bottle sat next to him, looking smug. Like it knew why he was drinking and how full it had been before he started. Like it knew all the things Miz was struggling to remember… or to forget.
"Fuck you, bottle," he slurred. He decided he didn't want to look at this know-it-all mostly empty bottle of Jack Daniels anymore. It was being a dick. Where would he put it so he didn't have to see it? He was sitting in the middle of the floor. There was nowhere in reach for him to hide it.
Suddenly an idea occurred to him.
He grabbed the bottle by the neck, and threw it as hard as he could at the wall. It shattered, spraying glass and the remnants of whiskey all over the floor and the wall. That felt good. That's what that self-fucking-righteous bottle deserved.
Miz carefully rolled over onto his knees (fighting a wave of dizziness) and crawled towards the kitchen, intent on getting that glass of water.
With minimum trouble, he pulled himself up using the counter, grabbed a glass and filled it with cool, good water. It soothed his fiery throat and made him feel okay again. Still drunk, still…whatever, but not on fire anymore.
Standing upright was a little easier than he thought it would be, and walked slowly back to the living room where he'd been laying. He decided to survey the damage done and laugh at that jackass of a Jack bottle.
The wall was splattered, the carpet was damp, and a good pile of broken glass was scattered around the scene of the "accident". Maybe he should clean it up. Or maybe he should wait until he was sober.
He reached down and picked up one of the larger pieces of glass, not noticing right away that he had cut his fingers. Weird. He didn't feel a thing. The cut bled slowly, trickling down to the palm of his hand, and he felt nothing. Was he really that numb? He gripped the glass shard carefully, and sliced neat, shallow line down his left forearm.
Miz walked back to the center of the room where he'd been sitting, bloody point of glass gripped carefully in his bloody fingers. The cut on his arm drew tiny beads, but nothing more. He plopped back down on the floor, and eyed his cuts.
The idea growing in his head suddenly seemed like the best idea in the world. After all… he couldn't feel a thing. His mind was numb, his body, his heart—
A sudden flash of memory made his stomach clench painfully. John's gorgeous face in front of him, wavery. Not smiling at him… something else. Confused? Angry? Miz couldn't pin down the emotion in his drunken state. He tried to remember why John was looking at him so strangely. Had he said something… done somethi—
Miz wanted to throw that fucking bottle at the wall all over again. Or drink the rest of that Jack. This is what he'd been trying so fucking hard to suppress. Well, no fucking wonder.
"Oh, you asshole," Miz muttered to himself. "You fucking idiot."
After a show, he had been talking to John. Something about their little "feud". In the locker room, which had been surprisingly empty at the time.
He'd wanted to tell the John about his feelings for quite some time, but didn't know how, and was otherwise terrified about how the older man would react. There were rumors about John and Randy back in OVW, but that's all they were. Randy and John acted like completely normal guys whenever they were together, like friends, not like ex-lovers with a long and colorful history.
John had been talking to Miz about something, and he'd completely zoned out, just watching the movement of the other man's lips, watching him form words in completely beautiful shapes and patterns. John had waved his hand in front of Miz's face and then gently laid his fingers on the younger man's cheek to garner his attention.
Miz, with his storied past of utter reckless impulsiveness, had leaned forward and kissed John. In the locker room.
The older man hadn't moved, seemingly frozen in shock. Miz suddenly realized what he was doing and to whose lips he'd found himself attached to. He'd pulled back, terrified of what John would do or say. He didn't give the other man a chance to react at all, he'd just run out of the locker room and gone straight home. And then straight to drunk off of his ass in record time, hoping to forget what he'd done.
How was he ever going to face John again? Or anyone else? What if he told someone? Or everyone? It wasn't like he was out to anyone there; he didn't want to draw the attention to himself. Some people in ECW knew, of course, but being the new kid on RAW, it wasn't like he felt the need to take out a billboard and advertise it.
He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead to his knees. What a fine mess he'd gotten into this time. Kissing an obviously straight man, an obviously straight man that he worked with, who was probably completely and utterly disgusted by him….
A poke in the palm of his hand brought his attention to the broken piece of glass he was still holding.
A fine idea indeed.
He couldn't feel a thing, and the liquor in his system was thinning his blood. Hell, who would even notice? No-fucking-body, that's who.
Carefully holding the slippery glass between two fingers, he made light several cuts over his wrist before cutting much more deeply. The blood flowed freely, dripping over his hands, arm and onto the floor. Thank god the carpet was brown.
He switched the glass to his other hand, fingers feeling large and too clumsy. The glass was poised above his other wrist and about to make the cut when there was a knock at the door.
The knock again, loud and urgent, followed by a voice on the other side.
"Mike? I think we need to talk about what happened."
His eyes went wide. Maybe this was a delirium brought on by alcohol and blood loss. Nobody ever talked about this, but maybe they all died before they could say anything to anyone. He sat very still, waiting to see if the sound and voice would repeat itself. Silence.
Maybe he was hallucinating after all.
Then the doorknob rattled. Had he locked the door? He couldn't remember that either. Generally that type of thing was force of habit, but he had been pretty flustered on the way inside. It was possible.
It was definitely possible, because just then the door swung open.
"Mike? I—Jesus Christ!"
There was John, standing just inside the door. Staring at him wide-eyed, before rushing in and kneeling next to him.
"Mike, what happened?"
He didn't say anything, just looked down at his bloody hands. It was pretty obvious, actually.
John reached out for Miz's cut arm, but he pulled it away, holding it to his body.
"Are you drunk?"
That was pretty obvious too. This hallucination was boring. He'd always figured if he'd ever hallucinated John, they'd be having wild sex or something. This was disappointing.
John stood up and walked out of Miz's line of sight. Truth be told, he was feeling a little more lightheaded than he had been earlier. Blood loss, or that last swig of Jack catching up to him? Who could say at this point?
The older man returned with a few dishtowels, and knelt back down next to Miz. He reached out for Miz's arm again and he decided not to fight this time. John wrapped one of the towels around the man's injured wrists and held it tightly.
"Mike… what happened here?" Miz looked at him. He looked pretty solid. Were hallucinations solid, or were they more like ghosts? This was something he didn't ever remember learning.
"Talk to me," John pleaded quietly. Miz looked down at his arm, and looked towards the wall where the bottle still lay in pieces. Then he looked back at John. Fuck it. He's just a hallucination.
"Afraid you hate me," he mumbled. "Saw the way you looked at me. Felt so stupid. Then I threw the bottle." He looked down at the towel around his wrist, already turning bright red. "The bottle still won, I think."
John followed his gaze.
Miz didn't feel particularly alarmed. He actually was feeling sort of sleepy now. Alcohol did do that to a person. Sleepy and hazy. Not too bad.
He watched as John pulled out his cell phone and started speaking urgently to someone on the other end. That was okay. Miz laid back down on the floor and watched John talk. It still wasn't an exciting hallucination, but at least it was better than sitting here by himself. Sort of.
He closed his eyes. John's voice started to fade.
For a moment, anyway.
"Mike! Wake the fuck up!"
Miz's eyes shot open. Had John just slapped him? Could hallucinations slap people? No one ever told him that either. He apparently had a lot to learn about this hallucination business.
"Stay awake," John demanded, wrapping a new towel around Miz's wrist.
"You don't care," Miz slurred. "Saw… your eyes. Your real eyes. You don't care at all."
John sat down behind Miz and pulled the man's head and shoulders into his lap. He had no idea what he was talking about with this "real eyes" thing, but he had every intention of keeping the younger man talking until the ambulance arrived.
"Don't say that, Mike. If I didn't care, I wouldn't be here right now."
"But you're not here."
"Yes, I am. I came here to talk about what happened in the locker room."
Miz closed his eyes, feeling wretched. This hallucination was no fun at all. This was definitely not what he wanted to talk about.
"Don't wanna talk about that."
"I do." John wasn't sure he wanted to let Miz close his eyes again, but as long as he was talking, it was probably okay.
"Said enough with the look on your face."
"Why do you keep saying that? What do you think you saw on my face?"
Miz squinched his eyes tighter, and John felt his heart constrict at the anguish on the other man's face.
"You looked… like you hated me. Like I disgusted you."
John was stunned. Had he looked like that? Disgusted? He remembered feeling stunned, but… disgusted? Mike had been out the door before John even had a chance to register what had happened.
"Mike… no, no, I don't hate you. Don't say that."
"Saw your eyes," Miz reiterated. His voice was fading and his eyes had been closed for a long while now.
"Open your eyes, Mike," John felt panicked. Miz didn't respond. "Mike?" He tapped his palm against the younger man's face. He stirred slightly, but did not open his eyes or respond.
He could hear sirens in the distance, growing closer.
Miz opened his eyes and immediately shut them again. The room was too bright, full of white and sunshine.
He opened his eyes slowly, one at a time. The bright light was hurting his head something awful. What had he gotten up to last night?
Slowly his eyes focused and he could see the room he was in. It was definitely not his. White, nondescript, with one big sunny window and a TV mounted on the wall across from him. He looked down at himself; this was not his bed. And this was definitely not his dress.
A voice to his right caused him to whip his head around, not helping his headache in the slightest.
"John?" Miz croaked. Fuck, his throat hurt too. What was John doing here? Was he hallucinating?
"Thank God… you're awake. You scared the shit out of me last night."
"Last night?" Last night was apparently missing in Miz's store of memories.
"What do you remember?"
"I… um…." Miz wracked his brain. He could remember everything the day before; he remembered wrestling, he remembered cutting his promo, he remembered… oh fuck. He kissed John in the locker room. Oh fuck. He kissed John in the locker room and then ran away. He'd gone home, found his mostly full bottle of Jack Daniels stashed in the liquor cabinet… and then his memories went blank.
He felt his face go red and carefully avoided looking at John.
"I want to talk to you about that, but first I want to talk about last night." He peeked at John out of the corner of his eye. The man looked exhausted. "You don't remember anything?"
Miz shook his head slowly, still not looking at John.
The other man reached over and tilted Miz's chin so they were eye to eye. He tried to jerk away, but the older man held fast, refusing to break eye contact.
"You got drunk and tried to kill yourself, Mike," he said quietly.
"I…." he started to deny it, but something stopped him. Instead, he looked down at his left arm, where an IV was hooked into the back of his hand and a heavy gauze bandage circled his wrist.
"Oh," he said meekly. Memories resurfaced, hazy at best. Drinking all that Jack. Throwing the bottle. Picking up the glass. John….
"You… came to my house last night." John nodded. "I thought I hallucinated you."
"I came over to talk about what happened in the locker room. When you didn't answer, I walked in. You were sitting on the floor covered in blood. The whole damn place stank of whiskey. If I hadn't called 911…" John's voice grew soft, caught in his throat. "…you could have died." The last words were barely a whisper.
Miz didn't know what to say. He barely remembered anything from the night before. What had he been thinking? And why had John come over? What did they have to talk about, other than Miz having made a complete and utter ass of himself?
He opened his mouth to say something to this effect, and a nurse bustled in. The two men pulled apart quickly, like they had been stung. The nurse checked Miz, checked his IV, his blood pressure, asked how he was feeling, wrote some notes on his chart and left just as quickly.
"I don't want to push you, but you said some things last night, and I want to ask you about them."
Miz looked at John, afraid of what he'd said last night in his drunken stupor.
"You kept talking about the look on my face. You said I looked like I hated you… like I was disgusted."
He needn't have worried; that was exactly how he felt about the whole thing. What was John here to say? Sorry Miz, but I'm straight, just wanted to let you know while you're hospitalized so you can't jump me? Fucking sadist.
The bandage on his wrist suddenly became very interesting, and he ran his fingers over the rough material, feeling a muted throb in the wound beneath.
"This is embarrassing enough," Miz started quietly, not even aware he was going to speak. "Without you dragging up that mistake too. I'd like it if you left me alone now."
"Mike… it wasn't a mistake."
He whipped his head around again, and the second time helped his headache even less.
"You surprised the hell out of me…I had no idea you felt that way. I came over to see if you thought it was a mistake… or if you really did have feelings for me."
"All the things you kept saying… it wasn't hate, Mike. You caught me off guard. That was all."
"But you looked—"
"No, no I didn't."
Entirely tired of arguing, John merely leaned forward and kissed Miz, curling one hand around the nape of his neck to pull him closer. A series of loud, quick beeps caused the men to pull apart, concerned, but realized it was only the heart monitor, recording Miz's pulse.
Miz looked down sheepishly. After a moment, John reached out and gently laid his hand on Miz's wounded left wrist. The younger man looked up, searching John's eyes. He could feel something like elation growing in his chest; sure, he was hungover and embarrassed as hell, but there was no other place he'd rather be.
A nurse bustled in again, drawn by the sudden increase in the patient's heart rate. She looked back and forth between the two men, noting the smiles on their faces and their proximity.
"Is …everything okay in here?"
"Yeah," said Miz, still looking at John. "It is now."