So, this story doesn't fit well with the canon but the idea hit me and then this fic appeared... I hope it turned out okay!

Julia woke to the sun in her eyes. Getting used to such large and open windows would take time. The curtains didn't hide much of the light, either. Not ready to face the day and navigate her way through a hangover, she pushed the pillow closer to her face. This didn't help much, not unless she wanted to bury her head with it completely. Opting for air, she turned to the other side. She soon wished she hadn't, suddenly faced with a memory from last night beside her. She was careful not to move again. If Donny was actually asleep, she refused to disturb him no matter how flustered she suddenly felt.

What had she done? Why didn't she continue into her room alone? Why had she opened the door again to see him lingering in the hallway? Right now she couldn't remember what, if anything, had been said. All she remembered was running into his arms. He held onto her as though she was going to float away. They carried out the kiss they'd fought so hard to resist just minutes before.

His sleep wasn't peaceful. She watched him in what appeared to be no more than a light slumber. His forehead was wrinkled with tension. Part of her thought it might be best to wake him up before a nightmare did it for him. The other part figured sleep was sleep. Perhaps this thinking was in part selfish as she wasn't ready to face him. Not until she figured out what to say.

She tried to pass this off as a drunken mistake. She tried to convince herself last night was about two hurt and lonely people finding solace in a friend. But she knew both excuses were only half-truths. It pained her to admit but feelings for Donny only grew with each passing day. It was wrong, she knew. Not only was he Michael's best friend, the same one he spoke so highly of in his letters, but he was also the reason for Michael's death. It'd taken a lot to accept the fact it was all a terrible accident, but it'd happened nonetheless. Now, a mere year and a half later, to be sharing a bed with this man? She felt nothing but shame.

Unable to look at Donny any longer as her eyes filled with tears, she shut them tightly. Still, she didn't want to wake him. Her mind was foggy. Perhaps this was a dream of her own. She didn't believe this for a minute, of course. She calmed herself quickly, carefully bringing a hand to her eyes to dry them. As awful as she felt, she didn't want Donny to know. When he woke she was sure he would be upset and most likely more so than herself.

They would still have to talk. This tryst couldn't continue – not now. They had the contest to think about. Gosh, she thought, what time was it? The others would have to have figured out by now that Donny never returned to his and Jimmy's room. Not seeing either of them this morning didn't leave much to the imagination. Never did she think herself capable of an affair, Michael or no Michael. This wasn't like her. Then again, neither were martinis… She'd lost so much of herself in the past couple of years and she prayed her life wasn't taking a turn for the worse.

Yet, Donny wasn't a stranger she picked up off the streets. This wasn't a wild fling justified by her first visit to New York City. If this had to happen, she was thankful to be with someone she cared for deeply. Too deeply, apparently, but that was another issue. Or was it? Would she be feeling this uneasy if he wasn't so connected to Michael? What if he had been someone she met on her own? She'd feel guilty, sure, but so much that it made her queasy?

She tried to go back to sleep. If the others already assumed what happened there was no use in fretting. They were the least of her worries. Maybe her headache would be gone when she woke again. Or maybe Donny would have woken and left and they could pretend this whole thing never happened. There wasn't much chance of this, though. And as appealing as that path sounded, it would only lead to trouble later.

Her eyes opened again a few minutes later. It was no use. There was too much on her mind and, despite the emotional rollercoaster of last night, she wasn't particularly tired. Sleepy, but not tired. Her gaze reached Donny again. With a sigh, she knew there would never be any denying what she felt for him. Last night said everything and then some. She wondered what his response would be and if she should pretend to be asleep. She'd been granted time to herself to sort out everything, he should be given the chance, too… but this was forgotten when she noticed his muscles contracting.

She knew she had to wake him before he dreamt himself into a panic. But how? Shaking him didn't seem like a good idea – scaring him would not be beneficial right now, unintentional as it would be. Normally she'd just assume let him work out whatever was going on in her mind, but if there was one thing she'd learned from the guys was that asleep or awake, what they'd gone through was more than any of them could handle.

Putting her own anxieties aside as well as the wrongness of their current situation, Julia slid closer to him, placing a gentle hand on his troubled face and trying to relax the creases in his brow. Pressing her lips between his eyes, she whispered to him.

"Donny… everything is all right… Donny, it's time to wake up now. Wake up and see that everything is okay."

It took a bit of coercing but he eventually opened his eyes. It took a few seconds longer for him to orient himself. When he did, worry flashed in his damp eyes.

"We're…" he said, gesturing between them.

Julia nodded.

"… how long have you been awake?"

"A little while. I hated to wake you, I didn't right away, but you seemed…" she trailed off, not sure of her wording.

"No," he said, cautiously taking her hand. "I'm glad you did."

An awkward silence lingered between them. Uncomfortable as it was, Julia still wanted to give him the time he needed to process the night. So she tried not to look at him, lounging back into the pillows. It was difficult to keep herself from nervous chatter. But there was no use in distracting. He knew as much as she did the trouble they'd caused themselves.

"I'm so sorry, Julia," Donny said after some time.

"You don't need to be."

"I do. I never should have… you and me… what I mean is…"

Turning back on her side to face him again, she said, "Neither one of us holds sole responsibility."

"I don't just mean what we did. This never should have been an issue. I should have stayed away from you. I mean outside of the band stuff… or maybe altogether."

"Let's not waste time with should-haves. We're here and now we have to deal with it."

His hands trembled as he ran them down the length of his face. "You're Michael's wife."

Emotion catching in her throat, Julia replied, "I was."

"You shouldn't be with me."

"I'll make that decision."

A couple of seconds passed. "Know what makes it worse?" he started. "I haven't slept this well or this long in months."

"You didn't look like you were resting well," she said without much thought.

Donny nodded. "Tells you how rough my nights usually are."

With this, Julia couldn't help but hug him. He hesitated a moment before hugging back, but once he did, he buried his nose in the crook of her neck.

"Can you ever forgive me?" he asked before added, "For everything… but for what happened last night."

"Of course I do. You know that. As long as you can forgive me as well."

"There's nothing to forgive. I'm the asshole here."

Pulling back, Julia said, "Stop it. This was two-sided. I was the one who came and found you in the hall, remember?"

"And I was right there waiting."

"That doesn't matter. We both wanted this equally as wrong as I'm sure it feels for both of us. We'll… figure everything out. But I suggest we do so at another time. We can't let this interfere with the band or the contest."

Donny nodded.

"I don't want things to be awkward between us," she finished.

He almost laughed. "Any more awkward than they've been?"

Fresh tears slowly making their way down her cheeks, she said, "Please, don't joke. I don't want to lose you, too."

"You won't," he said, pulling her close again. "I promise… I promise."