Danny leans back on the couch as he holds a bottle of Jack tightly in his right hand.
He’s been in Miami for nearly a month, and he just can’t adjust. He can’t handle the fact that he is away from his friends, from his mom who seemed to be one of his biggest supporters, and most especially Julian.
He’s missed Julian so much, that he finds himself on his couch every night watching replays of his games with the Pats as he sips whiskey straight out of the bottle.
He’s in denial— it’s not a problem. Nope, nope, nope.
Except it is. He’s showed up to the last three practices with raging headaches and feeling like he’s going to throw up.
He simply doesn’t feel like it’s a problem because he’s only thrown up on one of those occasions.
The one thing he can’t seem to wrap his head around though, is that the whiskey is supposed to wash away the memories, but it’s not. It’s only making it worse. It makes him want to be with his team— his family— and Jules even more when he drinks.
Miami was a mistake— one he had to live with for the next two seasons.
It wouldn’t be too bad, but it’s always hot and sticky… The sun never seems to leave, its extremely hard to sleep at night because of the wicked storms constantly rolling in— oh, and don’t forget the most important thing, there’s no Jules.
No loving asshole who used to be there everyday to keep Danny in check. No loving asshole to comfort him after a bad day of practice. No loving asshole to comfort him with he’s drunk way too much and is in bed, ready to cry his eyes out.
Even though he and Jules never officially called their relationship quits, he can’t help but feel like Jules just… doesn’t care anymore. It’s like all they say is good morning and good night— and that’s it. Nothing in between.
And to make matters even worse, Jules hasn’t contacted him in nearly two days.
He takes another swig from the bottle.
The next morning at practice there’s a weird buzz in the locker room. Danny ignores it, he’s too caught in his own head, thinking about how he probably shouldn’t haven’t gotten out of bed.
Once they take the field and begin warm ups, he begins to actually listen to his teammates. Supposedly the two empty lockers meant that two guys got traded. No one knew where to, or who would be joining them in exchange.
He couldn’t bring himself to care— he needed to focus on making it look like he wasn’t hungover.
As they begin drills, he hears one of the guys go, “What the fuck is he doing here?”
Danny ignores that too. He strolls over to the bench, where he plops down and sprays the water into his mouth.
As he sits there, he just listens to the chatter of his team, and looks down at his feet. Suddenly, someone is sitting on the bench next to him. He just continues to look down at his feet.
“Really, Dola? That’s how you’re going to greet me,” the voice says from next to him.
And Danny knows the voice. It’s Julian’s. But no, it can’t be him, he’s gotta be in Boston— not Miami.
Suddenly, his stomach flips and bile begins to make its way up his throat. He runs, runs until he gets to the bathroom, falls to his knees and lets the contents of his stomach come up and out.
As he dry heaves into to toilet, the sound of cleats hitting the cement bathroom floor grabs his attention.
The stall door opens behind him, then there’s a huff, and a hand on his back.
“Dola?” The voice asks softly, and it is Julian. It has to be, it's the hand that was always on his back in Boston when he had bad days. The one that was always there through the good and the bad.
Danny sucks a breath in through his nose, and reaches forward to flush the toilet before he can smell the contents in the toilet.
“What the fuck are you doing here man?” It comes out harsh, which he can’t bring himself to regret. Jules deserves a cold shoulder, especially after distancing himself and seeming like he doesn’t give a damn anymore.
“Come on Bubs. Don’t be all cold with me,” Julian practically whispers. “What’s wrong?”
Danny shook his head and stood up. He brushed past Julian— because, yes, he had a reason to be cold with Julian.
He did what was best for him, and Julian seemed to take that as ‘oh, let’s only text twice a day for the entire season’.
He scoffs at the thought.
Danny sighs as he takes the last sip from his bottle of Jack. He’s suddenly disappointed that he took a few too many sips last night and didn’t leave much for today.
He’s been home maybe 20 minutes and has chugged the fiveish remaining shots left in his last bottle. When he stands up, he feels it. His world is spinning a bit, like it has every night since he got to Miami.
When Danny puts the bottle on the counter, he swears he hears a knocking at the door, but he doesn’t want to investigate. He just stumbles toward the couch and crashes down on it, lying on his stomach.
Suddenly his phone is vibrating, he pulls it out and squints at the little black letters. He can’t make out a single word, so he just puts it on the ground and rests his cheek against the couch cushion, trying to stop the world from spinning.
Suddenly someone is calling his name. And it’s Julian. “Danny!” The pounding in his door gets louder. “Come on man! Open up!”
“Leave me alone,” Danny slurs loudly as he tries to relax further into the couch.
There’s silence. In what seems like seconds later, there’s a hand on his back. The same one from earlier.
Danny’s eyes snap open. He didn’t realize he closed them. Julian is down at his level, concerned blue eyes looking at him.
“Huh,” he mumbles sleepily as he tries to push himself up, but comes up short.
“Jesus, Danny, how much have you had to drink,” Julian mutters and runs a hand through Danny’s dark hair.
Danny’s eyes fall shut, and a small smile makes its way to his face. He’s missed Julian’s touch.
“Bubs? How about we get you to bed,” Jules’ soft voice asks. There’s a concerned sound soaking in it, making Danny feel warm inside.
He’s missed Jules’, his Jules’, caring tone. Fuck, he’s just missed his Jules.
“Kay,” Danny finally lets out and there are two hands on his chest, lifting him up.
Next thing he knows, is he’s on two feet and an arm is wrapped around his back with a firm hand holding his waist.
“You’re not going to be feeling good in a bit,” Jules’ soft voice says again.
Danny discards Julian’s words and mutters, “It doesn’t work.”
“What doesn’t work, Bubs?” The hands on his waist tightens.
“Whiskey. It doesn’t drown out the memories.” Suddenly he’s sniffling and he doesn’t know if it’s because of the drunken state he’s in, or if it’s because the good memories haunt him and remind him of his mistake.
The last thing he remembers is Julian’s soft touch pulling his clothes off, helping him into bed, and then the warm covers being pulled up to his chin.
When Danny wakes up again, his stomach is rolling, but he doesn’t feel like he needs to throw up. He sucks in a breath and lets his muscles calm at the scent surrounding him, Julian’s scent.
He lets out a huff and shimmies back into the warmth behind him. The next thing he knows is that warm muscular arms are wrapped around him and there’s a hot breath hitting the nape of his neck.
“How’re you feeling,” Jules’ hushed voice asks. Julian’s hand lies flat on Danny’s abs.
“Okay.” And Danny doesn’t realize how bad his headache is until he’s spoken. He cringes a bit and rolls back into Julian a bit more.
Julian sighs and places a soft kiss on Danny’s forehead. “You scared me, Bubs. I-I thought I was gonna need to take you to the hospital. You threw up in your sleep,” Julian whispers and then sniffles. “I-I… Danny.”
Danny’s breath hitches and he looks up at Jules, meeting beautiful blue eyes. “I-I’m sorry, Jules,” he whispers— and he still feels drunk, which wouldn’t be a surprise.
“J-Just… why? What makes you do this to yourself,” Julian whispers as he looks down at Danny with watery eyes. “I-I… just don’t get it.”
Danny sucks in a breath and shakes his head. “I-I… Miami was a,” Danny interrupts himself with a hiccup, “a mistake. W-We never talk anymore… I-I thought change was good… But… You don’t talk to me anymore… I-I don’t have any friends… I just can’t.” And then Danny’s sobbing, it makes his head hurt even more, but he can’t help it.
“Shh, Shh… Danny… I-I’ve been so busy trying to follow you here that I haven’t had time to talk. I-I hope you forgive me,” Jules says softly. He places a kiss on Danny’s forehead.
“I-I thought you took the way out… the way out of this relationship,” Danny cries into Julian’s bare chest. “I-I was terrified.”
“No.” Julian stiffens and holds Danny’s head to his chest as Danny begins to cry harder. “Never.”
“I-I’m sorry I left,” Danny mumbles. “I- I thought this was an opportunity… It… Tore us apart. I don’t deserve you.”
“Danny, you couldn’t get rid of me if you tried. I’ve been traded… And took a pay cut. As long as it’s me and you, I’m happy,” Jules says into Danny’s dark hair. “I don’t need money when I’m with you, just you is enough.”
Danny pulls out of Jules grip a bit and looks at him. “D-Did you really request a trade,” he asks as he tries to get his breath back.
Julian nods. “Yes. I knew you weren’t doing the best… But I didn’t know it was this bad. If I had known then I would’ve requested the trade earlier.”
Danny shakes his head. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. You threw away everything for me,” Danny lets out. He sniffles and thinks about how that’s not okay. He wasn’t the only one who made a mistake now, Jules has too.
“Danny. As much as I love Boston and the Patriots, you’re my everything. I didn’t throw anything away. The only thing I threw away was you when I let you go by yourself,” Jules whispers and places a soft kiss at the corner of Danny’s mouth.
Happiness fills Danny’s heart, but deep down, he feels sick, because he knows Jules just threw away his career for him.
And all he can do is think about how bad he needs a drink.