Author's Note: I do not own the Night Court characters, and they are all probably OC
Dan's Addiction- Part 1
Dan Fielding was only late for work for one reason: a rendezvous with a woman. Judge Harold T. Stone knew that Dan could not help it, that Dan had a 24/7 need for sex it seemed. Dan is usually detained in the courthouse somewhere, so that night Harry asked Dan's lackey, Phil, search in his usual "hiding" spots. After thirty minutes, Phil barged in the Harry's courtroom, a look of worry on his face.
"I looked everywhere," Phil told the judge. "He is not in the building." Then Harry shared the same concern as Phil.
"It's not like him to be this late. I hope nothing happened to him."
"Sorry I'm late." Just then, the tall, handsome Assistant District Attorney stumbled through the doors, almost tripping over himself, his dark suit muffled.
"Approach the bench," Harry ordered. The judge could see that Dan struggled to walk in a straight line. As the DA stood before him, Harry could smell alcohol on his breath, not the usual stench of cologne that signified he had scored with a woman. "Have you been drinking, Dan?"
"Not more than usual, sir." Dan's eyes were red and swollen, indicating he had been crying or did not get enough sleep, or both.
"Court will begin in an hour," Harry called to the court. "Dan, meet me in my office right away." Without saying a word, Dan headed towards the judge's chambers. Before Harry set foot out of the courtroom, Christine grabbed him by the elbow.
"Usually I am not concerned about Dan," Christine told the judge, "but right now is the worse I have seen him. Please find out what's wrong and help him."
"I will," Harry reassured her. Right before Harry entered his office Bull the bailiff came out. "What were you doing in there?"
"Dan passed out in the hallway, sir. I had to carry him here. I think he's drunk." Bull had the same look on his face as Phil, despite it being slightly confused as he always appeared.
"Don't worry Bull, I'll get to the bottom of this. Dan will be fine, and tell Mac that we need to find a replacement for Dan."
"Ok." Bull gave the judge a slight smile and left.
When Harry entered his office he stared at the man knocked out on his couch; he looked peaceful, carefree, not as he looked going into his courtroom that night. Harry knelt down next to the man and shook him gently, at first. When it appeared that Dan was a heavy sleeper, Harry grabbed Dan's biceps and agitated him awake. A startled Dan sat up and put his head in his hands. Harry moved next to Dan on the couch and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Dan, you know you can confide in me if there is anything going on in your personal life," Harry started, "especially when it is affecting work, like right now."
"It's… it's just difficult for me to talk about this, Harry," Dan replied. "I don't want anyone else to know. My… my parents died."
"I'm sorry to hear that." With a little tear streaming down his cheek, Harry looked at his colleague, hoping to see his face, but Dan kept it buried. "That doesn't mean you should drink to drown your pain."
"You… you and everyone may think that all I think about is sex, but there is something else I need to function… alcohol." Harry let go of Dan's shoulder, and Dan came out of hiding but did not look the judge in the eye. "I drink before I sleep, before work, during breaks I spike my coffee or drink from a flask I have hidden in my briefcase, and when I'm not working I get drunk. When I have sex with women at my apartment I am hammered, when I fool around here I am a little buzzed, but I know when to stop, so I can do my job. That's why I am always broke; my addiction takes away all my extra money."
"I can't believe this!" Harry stood up and paced the room. "How long have you been… been an alcoholic?"
"I drank socially as an undergrad and in law school, but I did not become an alcoholic until after I bombed the bar exam the first time. I drank so I would not have to think about being a failure. When I passed the next time, I went out and drank to celebrate. I know I use alcohol to cope… use it as a crutch. I am sorry… sorry you had to see me like this. When I got the news that my parents passed away I went to the bottle for comfort, not caring if I had to come to work. I know I did not like them because they were hicks from a small town… but they were still my parents… the ones that gave me life. I wanted to get away from them, and I succeeded… but I still loved them."
Dan reached in his pocket and took out a flask, taking a long swig from it. Then he hugged himself, crying softly. As much as Harry disapproved of Dan's behavior, he sat next to the Dan and put his arms around him. Dan buried his head in Harry's shoulder, and Harry squeezed a little tighter.
"You can't go on like this Dan. I know it will take awhile for you to get over the death of your parents, but you cannot continue this addiction. I will help you get the help you need. I will find you a counselor, and find out where AA meets…"
"No, don't." Dan pulled away from the judge and put space between them. "This is my problem… mine alone to fix. I have had this addiction for years, and I can get back into the grove of things once this storm passes over. …Now, let's get to work."
"I already got a replacement for you tonight, and I want you to take the week off so you can deal with your situation. I know you will probably be drinking, but try to think of how your addiction has affected your relationship with women you cared about, more than just for sex. I know you are good at your job, but think how better your brain will function without the sting of alcohol. Think how this affects our relationship." Dan gave Harry a puzzled look. "I'll always be your friend, but I will not look at you the same, now that I know your secret. I know you are better than that." With that, Judge Stone composed himself and started walking out the door. "Good night Dan. If you decide to get help, call me."
When the door shut, Dan reached for his flask again and stared at it for a long time, tears streaming down onto it. When he finally took a drink, he heard someone enter the room. Roz stormed across the room and slapped Dan hard, leaving a red handprint on his cheek.
"What was that for," Dan exclaimed.
"I heard what you told the judge," she said with a stern face. Roz hardly showed emotion, but she was concerned for her fallen colleague. "I thought I could slap you out of it… I'm sorry to hear about your parents."
"Thanks." Dan stood up and fixed himself. "I better get going then."
"You hid it so well. I would have never guessed you were an alcoholic." The two stood in the judge's office staring at each other for a moment, and then Roz approached Dan, finally giving him a slight hug. "I hope you take Harry's advice, because I don't think I can see you in the same light again either." Dan hugged her back.
"Thanks for your concern. I have a week off to compose myself, and I will think about what he and you said." Roz gave Dan a peck where she slapped him, grabbed the flask from his hand, and left him standing there, dazed.
"I need a drink," Dan said aloud, and then hit himself on the head. "I need to get a grip."…