The Long Game
Author's Note: Set during Milton Bobbit—just after the bomb scene but before Don is on scene packing things up. I was thinking of the Arkell's song Michigan Left as I wrote this chapter-I think it quite applies. Please leave a review.
Don was sitting in their Baltimore apartment nursing a beer with his feet up on the coffee table and a basketball game on the tube. He was tired, despite the fact that he had been going to bed earlier and earlier every night, he was so fucking tired.
He heard the keys in the door and turned to look at the entrance, surprised. It wasn't Liz's night, he was supposed to be alone which is why he was sitting shirtless in some pajama bottoms with his bare feet.
"What the hell was that?!" Liz yelled at him as she marched toward him.
Don stood from his spot on the couch looking at her shocked.
"What was that?!" Liz said as she continued toward him and shoved his chest hard, so hard he almost fell back into the couch.
"Excuse me?!" Don yelled back. "What the hell are you doing here?"
He stepped toward her and she didn't back down, which surprised him.
"You were okay with dying," Liz hissed at him as they stood toe to toe.
He blinked and tried to not show on his face that she was right, for a ridiculous moment he was okay with it.
"Don't you lie to me," she said, her eyes watery. "I know you."
Don broke eye contact and stepped back, turning his back to her, and looking out the window.
"Talk to me!" Liz yelled, her anger still palpable.
"What do you want me to say?" Don said quietly, still not looking at her.
"That you aren't okay with dying," Liz said, her voice hoarse.
Don crossed his arms over his chest and swallowed hard.
"I was, for a moment," Don said, honestly.
"How can you say that?" Liz choked out.
"Because it's true," Don said, still not looking at her, his eyes focused on the guy on the computer across the street watching him. He should care, but he didn't. Couples fought, it was okay what was happening here, even if it was real. "Liz…"
"Don, you can't be okay with dying," Liz said as she walked toward him. "I am not okay with you dying. Everyone you love is not okay with you dying. Audrey wouldn't…"
"I know!" Don snapped as he turned to face her. "I know she would have wanted to strangle me after the stunt I pulled today. I know! But she's not here to strangle me. She's dead, Liz."
His eyes filled with tears and Liz had a few fall down her cheeks.
"I know," she said softly as she continued toward him. "And she doesn't want you to be."
Don choked back a sob and turned back toward the window, his eyes unable to focus on the computer guy anymore.
Liz walked up behind him and touched his back, just like she did at Audrey's funeral, supportive and present.
"She'd want you to be happy," Liz said quietly. "And I haven't been through what you have with Audrey…but I know, I know, if you allow it…one day you will be happy again. But not if you keep looking for opportunities to die."
His head fell to his chest and he shook a little. She wanted to wrap him in her arms, but she wasn't sure that was welcome he was so angry still. They stood like that for a long time until she watched him raise his head up and wipe at his eyes. She sensed he was ready to talk, to sit down and talk about what had been going on in his head.
But instead, he stood looking out the window for another few minutes and she sensed somehow the energy in the room had changed, that his walls had suddenly come up again. She didn't know why, but they had, and she felt the tension come back in his body.
"Liz," he said softly. "The computer guy across the road…don't look."
She stood frozen, waiting for him to tell her something.
"He's recording us," Don said. "He's fucking recording."
Liz's eyes went a little wide and then she corrected them.
"I'm…" Don said as he turned to face her. "We're going to make up now, because it was clear we were fighting."
Liz nodded and stepped toward him kissing him solidly on the lips as he returned the kiss and started to walk her backwards toward the bedroom. She pulled off her jacket and untucked her shirt.
"Rip it off," she said when they pulled apart for a moment for her to kick off her shoes.
"I'm not going to…" Don said his brow furrowed.
"Rip it," Liz said before they started to kiss again, and he walked her backwards into the master bedroom.
Don, kicked the door shut behind them, getting rid of any ambient light coming from the living room or the TV.
Don reached for the centre of her shirt where all the buttons were done up, and ripped it apart causing a couple of buttons to ping off their bodies and the floor and he quickly pulled it from her arms. He slid her down onto the bed in her pink bra and pants, his body on top of hers, and pulled away from the kiss, kissing her stomach once before leaning over and plunging the room into total darkness.
"Jesus Christ," Don said as he flopped down on the bed next to her breathing heavily, his body pulsing.
Liz's heart was hammering in her chest and her body was on fire.
"Who the hell is he?" Liz asked as she tried to control her breathing. Acting or not, they were both affected by that little scene.
"He's either a perv or someone watching us," Don said as he willed his erection to go away. "We're going to need to find out."
Liz nodded next to him in the darkness.
"How was he recording?" Liz asked.
Don swallowed hard.
"As I was standing there, I noticed that he kept adjusting something attached to the side of his monitor," Don said. "It's kinda hidden behind a plant, but then he shifted it just a little and I saw the lens looking right at me."
Liz got up off the bed and went along the wall toward the bedroom window looking out at him.
He was adjusting something on the side of his monitor again and seemed to be looking slightly above them.
"I think he's a perv," Liz said.
Don got up and was grateful for the darkness because he was sure he was beet red from head to toe with sexual desire that he needed to tame.
He came up next to Liz and looked over her shoulder.
They dude seemed to be trying to covertly look at an apartment above them now and was adjusting his lens to capture someone else at a different angle.
"We need to find out his apartment number and get Aram to run a search," Don said before he walked back toward the bed and sat down heavily on it.
Liz came and sat next to him and bumped his bare shoulder with hers.
"If he's a perv that's not going to be easy to navigate but at least we aren't being monitored for our operation," Liz said in the darkness.
"Yeah," Don said back. "And if we can get anything on him, we can get Metro to arrest him and then he really won't be an issue."
They sat in silence for a few minutes before Liz broke it.
"I would be lost without you," Liz said softly.
Don swallowed hard.
"I'm not going to kill myself," Don said. "And I know what I did today was stupid. I know."
"And you won't do anything like that again?" Liz asked. "Because Don, if you had died…"
"I won't," Don said as he turned to look at her in the darkness. He couldn't see anything, but he knew she was there. "I promise."
He felt her reach for his hand and take it in hers.
"Thank you," she said softly.
He sighed and let go of her hand.
"We're stuck in here for a while in the dark," Don said as he stood up. "I'm going to go grab a shower and hopefully not slip or walk into any walls in the dark. It'll be an experience."
Liz chuckled. She hadn't thought, but he was right. The entire room needed to stay dark for another hour or more.
"I'll put on some clothes and just lay here, I guess," Liz said with a chuckle.
"Sorry about your blouse," Don said, and Liz could sense from the distance his voice traveled his was probably standing in the door of the washroom.
"It sold it," Liz smiled in the darkness.
"Yeah," Don chuckled quietly. "Yeah, it did."
She heard the door quietly shut to the washroom and the shower turn on a minute later.
To be continued…