A/N: Originally posted in 2012.
Updated and revamped in 2015.
Don stared down at his bloodied hand, then down at his desk and the glittering shards of glass that had shattered over it. He pushed his chair back and stood in one fluid movement, holding his wounded appendage away from the papers he had mentally convinced himself he was studying, but in reality had only been boring holes through.
As he raked his hazel eyes across his office, in search of something to staunch the maroon blood that oozed steadily from the gash, he grimaced and made to reach forward for the intercom when something else caught his eye instead. He frowned, tilted his head to the side, and changed the trajectory of his uninjured hand away from the comm and towards a loose sheaf of paper that hadn't managed to escape the booze and blood saturated mess.
He furrowed his brow as he slowly sat back down, wounded hand curled against his abdomen despite the formerly pristine and starched material that covered it. His office door opened as a female voice called out simultaneously, "Mr. Draper? I heard shouting. Are you alright?"
Don barely offered the woman a glance as he distractedly replied, "What? Yes. Everything's fine. Close the door."
The secretary hesitated, her wide eyes drawn to the obvious mess of blood and the even more overwhelming stench of alcohol. However, she swallowed her protestations and bowed out of the office. She had probably seen worse, but that was a concern that Don's train of thought hadn't even breached.
Life is a perpetual drunkenness; the pleasure passes, but the headache remains.
The presumed quote was typed in a single line, centered directly on the otherwise blank page. Don flipped the paper over with a twist of his wrist, and then back again.
"Life," he murmured in his gravelly voice, "is a perpetual drunkenness." The stinging in his hand had slowly drifted to the back of his mind. "The pleasure passes," he paused, "but the headache remains."
It was simple. It was admittedly cheesy, but it was also very true. He sat further back in his chair, his frown twisting his lips even further down as his gaze lifted from the sullied paper to his desk. It was littered with bloodied flecks of glass.
That's my life, he thought. Glass.
Don had never considered himself a particularly fragile man. He was a partner in a well-known, leading advertising company. He was financially well off. He was a man on top of the world.
He was happy.
Don's lashes fluttered as a wave of emotion suddenly overcame him. The tears welling up behind his now closed lids didn't surprise him as much as the wet streaks they left down his cheeks did. His hand began to tremble, and he couldn't tell if it was the pain returning or his sudden realization of what he become.
His carefully constructed persona was nothing but clear-cut glass that was hastily glued at the jagged seams. And one reckless tap after another had finally rendered him to broken, jaded shards.
His life was in hopelessly mismatched pieces. He was divorced. He had no family to call on or friends to shoulder him. He drank too much and took care of himself too little.
When things got serious for Don, it was Dick who ran.
Life is a perpetual drunkenness.
He had bled his life dry so that he could be where he was.
Where was he?
What was his life now?
Don blinked hard, and looked up sharply. The door was ajar, and his freshly appointed secretary was watching him worriedly.
He inhaled roughly, and swiped at his red-rimmed eyes with the back of his cut hand. He offered what he hoped was a reassuring smile as he looked down at the shattered pieces of glass atop his desk once again.
"Yes. Yes it is."