A/N: Set around 4x18/4x19, after Sam asks Danny to try to get through to Martin. The support group meeting was adapted from the actual script; the rest is my fabrication.
In hindsight, Martin thinks it's pretty funny that it wasn't Sam's gentle confrontation that reached him, nor Viv's pointed concern, not even the lady at the Starbucks down the street from the FBI building who asked if he was okay when his hands wouldn't stop shaking long enough for him to count out his change. In fact, all it took was Danny slipping a piece of paper into his hand after work one day with an address and a time and a promise: I'll be there if you are.
Martin almost chickens out three times on the way: once when the cab he's in turns onto the street, once outside the actual building, and once in front of the door to the meeting room itself. He'd decided to be deliberately late in order to avoid mixing with anybody beforehand, but now he realizes this only serves to make him more obtrusive. He slips inside and stands at the back for a while, trying to regulate his heartbeat as he searches the room for the back of Danny's head. When he sees him, a little of his nervousness ebbs away. He's just… he's really glad that Danny's here.
Martin kind of assumed the whole "Hi, my name is … and I'm an addict" thing was a product of Hollywood's overactive imagination, much like two-thirds of the stuff he sees in TV crime dramas, but it turns out it's legit. When it's his turn to stand up in front of everybody, his hands start shaking harder than when he's going through withdrawals. Danny's are clasped in his lap and Martin looks at them when the left one twitches, almost like the other man wants to move it but doesn't dare.
"Why don't you introduce yourself?" the group leader asks gently.
Danny looks up at Martin, his deep brown eyes filled with genuine compassion, and wordlessly reaches out his hand.
"My name is Martin," says Martin, taking a deep breath as Danny's grip strengthens in reassurance, "and I'm an addict."
Danny has really warm hands, and when he lets go he leaves the sting of lost contact behind.
Martin's known that they both live uptown for a while now, but never thought to ask exactly where Danny's located before. His place ends up being like four blocks from Martin's own so Martin doesn't think anything of asking if the other man wants to share a cab, but Danny gets this look on his face that's like what exactly are you asking me, here?
And if Martin's thinking of inviting him in for a little while, well, he's just found Danny's presence comforting lately, that's all.
Danny's eyebrows almost leap off his face when Martin asks him to come up. It's kind of funny how comical it looks – or it would be if Martin wasn't busy being confused about why the other man was making such a big deal about this.
"Look, if there's something I'm missing here…"
"No, no," Danny says hurriedly, and then, to the cabbie, "I'll get out here. We'll split it."
"Gimme a break," Martin grumbles, reaching for his wallet and waving Danny's proffered dollar bills away. "I've got it. I've got it," he repeats firmly, placing his hand on top of Danny's and trying the best to ignore the spark this action ignites in his chest. "You've done enough for me tonight."
That registers with Danny, he supposes, because the other man pulls his hand away.
Martin nods approvingly and leans toward the Plexiglas partition. "Keep the change."
Martin's place really isn't much, and he feels a sudden flush of embarrassment as he turns his key, picturing the scene on the other side: a rumpled couch which may or may not still have a blanket on it from the last time he fell asleep in front of the TV (i.e. last night), a glass coffee table piled high with mail, and magazines he doesn't ever really read but likes to keep at hand anyway. As the door swings open, a chill runs through him when he realizes there's a half-empty bottle of pills on the table too; they've been sitting there for days because he can't quite bring himself to get rid of them, and of course they're the first thing Danny notices.
"What are these?" Danny asks. His tone is as hardened as his expression, like Martin's really let him down.
"I haven't taken them since I started detoxing," Martin tells him quickly, hoping Danny can hear the ring of truth in his voice. "I just… I used to wake up every morning and go straight to them, and even though I've stopped doing that there's something inside me that…"
"Just won't let you throw them away," Danny finishes, and his tone no longer has as much of an edge to it.
"Something like that," Martin says weakly. He wonders if Danny's going to get pissy with him, but the expression on the other man's face is more reminiscent than anything.
"You know, I kept a bottle of Jack underneath my sink for six months after I got sober." Danny shakes his head at himself, an incredulous smile playing at the corner of his lips. "Six months. And by that point I hated it, I never would've touched it, but I wanted it there anyway."
Martin's nodding along slowly, stupidly glad it's not just him who's this irrational. "What made you get rid of it?"
"My sponsor." Danny grins. "He comes over one day and goes, 'You have any alcohol left around here?' So I'm quiet for a good two seconds before I say no, and he just looks at me and starts searching the house. Under the sink was the second place he looked." He shakes his head again, laughing. "I was so sure – so sure that was the best hiding place ever, and he just breezed right on in and found it."
Martin's laughing too by now, and it's good to share some lightness after the day they both had. Their line of work coupled with Narcotics Anonymous isn't exactly a walk in the park.
"We ended up pouring it down the sink," Danny continues suddenly, like it's important Martin knows.
"Yeah?" Martin questions, the dregs of laughter catching in his throat.
"Uh-huh. I held the bottle, he held my hand." Danny shrugs self-consciously. "Stupid, really, two grown guys like that, but."
"I don't think it's stupid." Martin's kind of surprised by the strength of his compulsion to defend it. "I don't think it's stupid at all." Then, after a beat, "Is that why you…?"
Danny takes a second to get what he's talking about before glancing down at his hands and saying quietly, "I hope that was okay. You looked like you needed it."
Martin shrugs his coat off and hangs it on the hook behind the front door before responding simply, "I did." It's strange, being this open with somebody, so he gestures towards the couch before heading in the direction of the kitchenette, calling, "Anyway, sit down," over his shoulder. "You want a dr- uh, non-alcoholic beverage?"
Danny cracks up behind him, and he can't help smiling at the sound. "Non-alcoholic beverage? Smooth, Martin. I'll just have a water, thanks."
By the time Martin comes out with two glasses it feels like his blush is mostly gone, but Danny takes one look at him and starts smirking all over again.
"What?" Martin asks hotly.
"Look at you." Danny's laughing at him again, but there's a fondness in his voice.
Martin lowers himself onto the opposite end of the couch and makes a face. "Well, I forgot for a second. About. You know."
"Yeah, trust me, it gets to a point where you stop feeling like somebody's ripping a Bandaid off your skin every time you're reminded of it."
Martin sips his water, listening quietly. "Yeah?"
"Yes," Danny says, voice softer now and without mirth. "I promise. And for the record, I still go out for drinks all the time, but the drink in question usually comes out of a faucet." He raises his glass wryly. "Or I get an orange juice, if I'm feeling adventurous."
"Point is, it doesn't have to rule your life anymore. And avoiding it doesn't either. You just have to remember to be strong when any temptations come up. So…" He smiles wryly. "Don't get shot again anytime soon, okay?"
"Deal," Martin agrees readily, returning the grin as he clinks his glass against Danny's.
It feels good, this kind of companionship. Cozy. Truthfully he's kind of surprised he's letting himself talk this freely, but it's hard not to feel at ease when Danny's so relaxed about everything.
"Why did you start drinking?" he blurts, instantly regretting it when he sees the sadness flash across Danny's face.
"Why didn't I start drinking?" Danny responds rhetorically after a pause, and Martin breaks eye contact and clears his throat.
"I'm sorry. That was… really personal, I'm sorry."
"Don't be," Danny says honestly. "It's in the past now. I've been sober for years and that's too long of a commitment to throw away over one bad day. Or six. Or seven." He reaches across to tap Martin lightly on the shoulder. "You'll feel like that about it too, someday."
Martin nods half-heartedly, appreciating the words but at the same time doubting whether the rawness, the crushing disappointment in himself will ever really go away. He still can't believe it even got this far, that he has to go to meetings where he stands up in front of a group of people and introduces himself as a… an addict.
Danny pokes him in the shoulder again. "Stop thinking about it."
Martin smiles sheepishly.
"Now," Danny says authoritatively, nodding in the direction of the bottle of pills on the coffee table, "you wanna do something about these?"
"Uh…" and Martin does, he really does, but that's not enough to stop the panic from seizing him. He just didn't think it'd be so soon. "I was kind of working up to it, you know?" he says lamely, and Danny makes a face at him.
"No time like the present, right?" When Martin doesn't answer, he continues unabashed, "What did you wanna do, flush 'em?"
Martin had been planning on just throwing them in the trash, actually, but the idea of seeing them swirl away into nothingness sounds a lot more appealing. "I guess." His throat feels dry all of a sudden, and he rolls his eyes when Danny raises an eyebrow at him. "Okay, yes. Okay."
"Great," Danny says easily, leaning over and grabbing the bottle like it's nothing, like it isn't this huge, oppressive demon Martin's trying desperately to beat. "Which way is your bathroom?"
Martin feels a lot better when it's over. Seeing those pills, those stupid, hateful pills that represented salvation and oppression all at once careening around the toilet bowl made him feel like he was getting some control back. Danny held his hand just like he said he would, and Martin shook a little but wasn't too embarrassed because Danny didn't even blink an eye.
Afterwards, they go back to the couch and just kind of sit there for a while. Martin asks if Danny wants a refill and Danny declines, and Martin doesn't feel much like one either so they lapse into silence again. Finally Martin turns on the TV and it's one of those dumb crime dramas he was thinking about earlier, and Danny snorts every time he spots something grievously inaccurate, which makes Martin smile because now he knows he's not the only one who does that.
Around eleven, Martin catches Danny looking at his watch.
"Am I keeping you up?" he inquires wryly, and the corners of Danny's lips quirk upwards.
"Not exactly, but I should probably head home. You know as well as I do: Jack awaits in the morning."
Martin shakes his head ruefully. "And we were doing so well avoiding the topic of work." Danny shoots him a sideways smirk and something inside Martin compels him to say, "You don't have to leave if you don't want to."
Danny's grin freezes in place. "…What?" he asks slowly, like maybe he misheard, and the part of Martin's brain that hasn't already shut off in panic is focusing very unhelpfully on the question of why on earth he just said that.
"Uhm," he begins feebly. An excellent start. "I was just… I… don't know, actually." He laughs weakly. "Just. Think nothing of it, okay? Forget about it."
Danny holds his gaze for a second and Martin feels vaguely uncomfortable about the intensity with which the other man's dark eyes appear to be searching his. Eventually Danny looks away.
"Okay," he says to nothing in particular, and reaches over to pick up his glass and return it to the kitchenette.
"Don't worry about it," Martin insists, waving him off, and Danny nods and goes to grab his coat.
The atmosphere in the apartment is charged with something Martin can't name as he stands by the door and waits for Danny to get ready. When Danny looks at him again, Martin feels like he should say something but can't find the words. As he goes to turn the doorknob, he clears his throat again out of nervousness.
"Listen, thanks for…"
He trails off as Danny reaches out and grabs his wrist, holding it motionlessly for a second. His gaze is so piercing that Martin feels like the other man's eyes are literally boring into him.
"I…" Martin tries again, and that's when Danny steps forward and tentatively presses his lips to Martin's.
Guided purely by instinct, Martin swipes his tongue cautiously across Danny's bottom lip. Danny yields to him unquestioningly, opening his mouth and deepening the kiss. It's deliberate and unhurried, not hot and heavy like Martin was used to with Sam, and it feels like they're really taking the time to explore what they're doing here, to do it slow, to do it right. The press of stubble against Martin's skin and the firm yet gentle grip on his wrist serve as reminders that Danny is very different from anybody Martin's ever kissed before, but the difference isn't an unpleasant one.
When Danny begins to pull away, Martin resists at first, bringing his hand up to rest at Danny's hip. Danny laughs against his lips and breaks the kiss, eyes sparkling.
"I'm gonna go home now, okay?" He sounds so amused for some reason, and Martin just… doesn't want him to go.
"Okay," he says dazedly, because he can't think about not complying at the moment. His lips feel numb so he lifts his hand and runs his index finger across them.
Danny shakes his head. "You are too much," he says, and that's all he says until he gets the door open and steps out into the hall. "Hey." He touches Martin's chin with the tip of his finger.
Martin lifts his eyes.
"We'll talk about this tomorrow, okay?"
"Okay," Martin says brusquely, kind of self-conscious about how far gone he is over this, but Danny just gives him this look that says seriously? and he stops feeling awkward.
"Just think about it. That cool?"
"All right," Danny replies, face breaking into a grin, and he touches Martin's shoulder again as he bids him goodnight.
Martin closes the door in a haze, wondering what the hell just happened and why he doesn't feel weirder about it. He sinks down onto the couch and his eyes come to rest on the now empty space where the pill bottle was. He stares at it for a second, replaying the evening in his head: Danny's firm, reassuring grip… the swirl of the pills in the toilet bowl… "My name is Martin and I'm an addict." He touches his lips, remembering the warm softness of Danny's mouth against his, and his desperation to keep kissing even after Danny stopped.
Somehow, he thinks, he doubts he'll feel differently in the morning.