Disclaimer: Don't own them, no money to be made.

A/N: Just a little something that popped into my head more than likely due to my huge Michael Cudlitz crush. I've never even tried to write m/m and the point-of-view is all over the place. I apologize in advance.


Vices

Anonymous voice: The tragedy surrounding addiction is that a person can rarely stop at one vice. This is a truth that even Officer John Cooper found himself falling into.

John would find it humorous how gay dealers seemed to grow a conscious if he wasn't in so much pain. They had no problem dealing X and E to the twinks looking for a good time on the weekends. But when it was Rx meds on a regular basis to him they cut him off and told him to get help. He'd just as easily put in a call to the narcs if he didn't think it'd come back and bite him in the ass.

That was everyone's line these days: get some help. His ex was practically handing him brochures and pamphlets to "nice facilities in the area." He didn't know how much of Laurie was motivated by his decision not to be her sperm donor. Like he was in any position to have a kid right now. He knew she'd be a great mother and never ask him for support—financial or otherwise—but John Cooper was a man who'd feel obligated to step it up as a father. Because his never had.

But worst of all was his partner, Sherman, and his loyal silence on the entire subject. There'd been a couple times where the rookie had to cover for him, give him a hand to the cruiser after a particularly strenuous call and the like. What really got to him were the few instances where he looked over in the passenger seat and caught Sherman looking at him the same way he used to look at Dewey. A gaze that wondered if Cooper really had his back in the dangerous situations they faced day to day. He took another swig of his beer.

He hated hated these bars. So if these douche bag dealers weren't going to hook him up, he'd have to take matters into his own hands and self-medicate. He'd always been able to hold his liquor, a trait he feared he inherited from his prison bait father. And as long as he switched up his ordering from one shirtless bartender to the other he probably wouldn't get cut off.

His back was always the last to go numb. He figured a few more rounds and he'd be able to call a cab home and grab some much needed, alcohol-induced shut-eye. Tomorrow he'd make another go at Laurie and maybe he'd look pathetic enough to appease with some sample packs. What a vicious cycle, he thought as he shook his head and drained the rest of the bottle. Before he even signaled for another, there was a container of his poison of choice sitting in front of him. He looked up questioningly at the bartender and the young man motioned to a gentleman at the end of the bar. The man looked over at Cooper and raised his own bottle in salutation. Did he mention he hated these bars?

It was always time to go when the natives started taking interest and John rifled through his pockets and threw enough money on the bar to cover his tab as well as the untouched bottle before making a quick exit. Which was easier said than done as he eased off the stool, the pain-deadening quality of intoxication yet to reach where it was truly needed. His slower reflexes gave him a few more seconds to process the man who had tried to buy him a drink. The man definitely stood out in the sea of over-juiced, over-sexed surfer boys that usually frequented this joint. This guy was wearing a tie. A tie always meant trouble; a curious husband with the wife out of town more than likely. Either way, John made it out of the establishment without help and without too much glitter on his black tee.

If he could just make it to his car he might be able to pass out for a little bit until it was safe to drive. Or call Chickie to come give him a ride home, she was used to taking care of drunks. He gave into derisive laughter when a hand to his shoulder made him stop and tense. John knew he should take a second and think before spinning and pinning his assailant to the ground. It probably would just aggravate his injury. Instead he turned slowly and glowered at whoever had the audacity to lay a finger on him. It was tie guy. Man, why wouldn't this loser just give up?

"Whoa," Tie Guy took his hand from John's shoulder and backed away. "I just wanted to apologize for what happened back there. I usually don't do that kind of thing."

"It's fine, man," John said as he turned back around and began walking towards the parking structure. He was glad he wasn't more intoxicated or it might have been tougher to ignore the man's clean-cut appearance and the way he over-enunciated his words to cover up a barely audible Boston lilt.

"Wait." He could hear Tie Guy jogging up behind him. "At least let me introduce myself."

"Let me tell you a little something. Let me give you some advice on 'that kind of thing.' Just don't." John faced the man again and took out his teaching finger, pointing it at the man's chest to emphasize his message. "It's in your best interest to just go back in that place and play the dumb card. Trust me, none of those little punks will remember enough the next day to rat you out to your wife." John began his walk again.

"But I'm not married. And I'm not really into that scene." Tie Guy motioned back at the bar, completely lost on John who was still walking. "I just want to know your name."

This man was absolutely pathetic. And that's what made John turn around one more time. Before responding, he sized him up a little bit. John looked to his left ring finger and didn't see an obvious tan mark, he looked down at Tie Guy's expensive and clean shoes, and he looked up to meet his gaze to try and figure out why in God's name this guy seemed to give a damn. "John Cooper. I'd shake your hand, but I usually wait until the second date," he deadpanned. John moved his hands to his sides, hoping that his classic police stance would bring a swift end to this exchange. It also took some of the tension away from his lumbar region…

Tie Guy reached into his pocket, making John's trigger finger twitch slightly. The man produced a business card and handed it to John. "Chase Grant. All I ask is that you think about it." John looked down at the piece of paper as the man turned and walked towards street parking. John scanned the card and settled on two telling letters: M.D. The foggier part of John's mind began formulating plans on how to take advantage of this particular situation. The more rational part still needed a ride home.

He heard the tell-tale beep of a car being unlocked about ten yards ahead. "Hey—Chase—you planning on heading down Wilshire toward Veteran?" John walked a little quicker towards the stereotypical sports car the good doctor was about to enter.

Dr. Grant smiled, revealing sparkling straight teeth. "Sure thing."

As John Cooper sank into the plush passenger seat the weight of the day and the alcohol rested on his shoulders. He closed his eyes momentarily, keeping his guard up around the stranger. He was starting a much-needed off-duty rotation. Looking over at the driver, he was starting it off right.

The End