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Five Times Dan Avidan Needed Someone, and One Time He Had Someone.

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  1. It's 3PM, and the laughter of the kids is still going round and round his head, the black fingers of sadness curling around his heart as he remembers them mocking him. Sure, he isn't bullied as badly as some, but it's plenty bad enough to make Dan feel worthless, useless, a waste of flesh and bone.

  2. It's 9PM, and Dan is colder than he has ever been, finding it hard to move his fingers because they're so stiff and bloodless, his face a frozen mask. A nice couple stopped and gave him gloves a couple hours back, but he's still so, so cold. It feels like he's made of ice on the outside, but inside hot shame seeps through him, making him cringe. How could he be so stupid? He'd wedged a moving truck under a bridge...even for him, that was a new low. The weed cigarette tucked in his pocket is calling for him, and while it would make everything a little bit less serious in his mind, he doesn't want to be high when the police got here to get the van out. Instead, he stands and directs traffic, self-loathing pumping through his veins.

  3. It's 6AM, and Dan is possibly higher than he's ever been. Thirty-nine weed brownies might not have been such a good idea – the feeling of being high hit him all at once a few hours back, and now he just feels nauseous and kinda numb. Numbness is kinda why he smokes anyway – without weed, he's just sad and numb and closed-off, whereas on weed everything is a little bit sillier and funnier. Now, it's morning and he's jobless and high, alone in his too-large bed, goosebumps prickling on his arms as he stares at the ceiling. Instead of blood, Dan is running on marijuana and the cold sludge of sadness that always seems to be in his veins.

  4. It's 2AM, and Dan is weeping, holding himself in a tight little ball as tears flood out of his eyes and ugly sobs wrack his body. He's stupid, so unbearably stupid, and he cheated on his girlfriend. She found out, and now he's alone and depressed, his tummy and chest hurting from hours of crying. His life is a mess, he's a mess, and nothing means anything any more.

  5. It's 7PM, and the Prozac tablets haven't kicked in yet. He's in Paris, he should be happy – it's a beautiful city, he's studying interesting things, and yet he's cold inside. He no longer cares. As the sunlight sets, Dan closes his eyes and allows the familiar feeling of helplessness to choke him, holding him hostage. He deserves it.


 

“You okay, Dan?”

Dan smiles at Arin, caressing his bearded cheek. “Yeah, Big Cat, you?”

It's 10PM, and Dan is happier than he's ever been. He's in bed with the love of his life, he's off of the medication, he makes dick jokes and plays video games for a living...life is beautiful. Everything feels sunnier.

“Yeah. Love you.”

As Arin nestles against Dan, he smiles. “Love you too.”