Summary: This short piece explores Danny's state of mind in episode 4x18, "The Road Home." Specifically, it examines why he reacted the way he did to Martin's addiction and to Sam's suggestion that he help Martin get clean. It begins midway during the conversation between Sam and Danny in the car.
Characters: Mainly Danny, with brief appearances by Martin and Sam.
Disclaimer: Don't own them. Not making money off of them.
Author's Notes: First, I must thank Rhiannon for her quick beta-reading services, which enabled me to get this story posted before too much time passed after episode 4x18 aired. And, as always, thanks to Nancy for archiving my stories.
For the past couple of weeks, I've been able to focus on one emotion where Martin's concerned: anger. When he was too hard on Mrs. Heller while we were trying to find her missing son, I was angry. When he wouldn't listen to me and wait for backup before rescuing Ethan Heller, I was angry. When I tried to reach out to him about his addiction and he denied that he had a problem, I was angry.
And today, when Sam tried to get me to tell her what's wrong with him, I was angry. Not only at Martin, for refusing to get help, but at Sam, for coming to me for answers, and at myself, for letting things get this far. For keeping his secret, not because he asked me to, but because I thought that if the others knew about it and confronted him, it'd push him even further into denial. After all, my own little "intervention" had been far from successful.
I made a mistake, though. That stubborn, prideful jackass isn't fit to be on the streets, and I should have threatened to go to Jack if that's what it took to make him wise up. Yeah, it'd be nice if Martin decided all by himself to get clean, but the bottom line is he shouldn't be at work, carrying a gun. Someone could get hurt. He wouldn't want that to happen, but he's not thinking clearly these days.
And as Sam sits here in the car and tells me that Martin has finally admitted that he has a problem, I realize that I'm probably not thinking clearly, either. Because although I've been waiting for Martin to ask for help, I don't want to believe Sam when she says he's done just that. Because if it's true, then how can I stay angry with him? And I need that anger.
"He's ready, Danny, and I believe him," Sam says, interrupting my brooding. "I don't think he can do this on his own."
I can read between the lines, and it's obvious that she wants me to help him. But I don't want to. What's more, I don't know if I can. I already have my own addiction, and Rafie's, to deal with. What makes her think I'm strong enough to handle Martin's, too?
So I ask, somewhat pleadingly and with a tinge of that precious anger, "Then why don't you help him? Hmm? Why is helping Martin my responsibility?"
Sam's obviously not impressed with my suggestion, or question, judging from her response.
"You've been through what he's going through. I haven't. I ... I don't know how to help him. I, I honestly don't ... You do."
The conviction in her voice chafes at me, because deep down, I know she's right. I should help him. After all, he's my friend. But damn it, I don't want to do this.
He'd do it for me, though. In a heartbeat.
I rub my face as my anger gives way to shame. Placing an elbow on the passenger-side door, I lean my head on my hand as Sam starts the car.
We don't talk on the drive back to the office. What's left to say? It's all on me now.
Ninety minutes later I'm in my living room, staring at the phone. Closing my eyes, I pinch the bridge of my nose and sigh noisily. My stomach is churning. Nevertheless, I start dialing. It only takes a minute to get the time and location of a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that starts in an hour. Not ready to make the next call, I instead pour a glass of water, take a few sips, and change my clothes. When I come back, my stomach isn't quite so jittery, but I again find myself staring at the phone. I still don't want to do this. For a brief moment, I actually consider asking Sam to pass along the information, but that idea only serves to increase the shame that's pricking at my aching conscience. I mean, let's face it. I've been a pretty crappy friend lately, and I'm not just talking about the last few weeks. It goes back to the shooting. I can count on one hand the number of times I visited Martin while he was recuperating. I just couldn't deal with seeing his pain, especially since I had escaped the ambush with barely a scratch.
The situation isn't much different now. Once again, Martin is hurting. And once again, I don't want to see his pain. It's why I've been holding on so tightly to my anger. It's just easier to be pissed off.
It's also selfish.
Taking a deep breath and blowing it out, I pick up the phone and dial. The line rings three times before he answers. His voice is gravelly, and I wonder if he was asleep or if he's just emotionally drained.
Feeling highly uncomfortable, I keep my greeting short. "Hey, it's Danny."
Martin doesn't respond. I suppose he's shocked to hear from me, since I've turned avoiding him into an art form. I speak again, wanting to get this out before the conversation becomes even more awkward. "There's a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in an hour at the Reckert Community Center. You know where that is?"
"Yeah," he replies, sounding faintly surprised. "Yeah, I do."
"I'll be there, Martin." I hang up, not waiting for a response. I'm not worried that he'll say no. I just don't know what else to say.
My stomach is churning again. Groaning, I head to the medicine cabinet for some Tums. I toss a few in my mouth and start chewing as I head out to the community center.
The meeting has been going for 17 minutes -- not that I'm counting -- and there's no sign of Martin. I feel that familiar anger taking hold again, and while it's tempting to embrace it, I turn away, trying to elude it. Just because he's late doesn't mean he's not coming. New York traffic can be a bitch, after all. Or he might have gotten a late start.
Still, I can't help but check my watch. And then the door opens and he walks in, dressed in street clothes and a beanie cap that's so not Martin's style. His eyes dart around the room, and there's not a doubt in my mind that he's embarrassed to be here. Nervous, too. But the bottom line is, he's here.
And so am I.
I feel the anger lose its grip, and when Martin looks at me and nods, a corner of my mouth twitches up as I nod back. I turn around and move the newspaper off the chair beside me. Leaning forward, I place my elbows on my knees and rest my chin on my hands.
As I wait for him to join me, images pop in my head, a rapid series of camera flashes. Martin bleeding to death on the street, being wheeled into the ER, grimacing after falling down the stairs, recklessly rushing to help Ethan Heller, scoffing when I call him an addict.
Last of all, I hear Sam's voice. "I don't know how to help him. I honestly don't ... You do."
And then Martin takes the seat next to me, drawing my focus back to the present, although the raw emotions of my memories linger. Through my peripheral vision, I see him look at me, and I get the feeling there's something he wants to say. He doesn't speak, though, and I'm glad, because I don't think I could form words right now. My throat is too tight. Instead, I acknowledge him with a brief, sideways glance and a slight lift of my index finger.
Sam was right. I do know how to help him, and I will. I can't promise that I won't be tempted to walk away when the going gets tough, but I'll stick it out. And not because helping Martin is my responsibility.
Because he's my friend.