|York (badlocksmith) wrote in valarlogs,|
@ 2018-03-16 16:20:00
|Entry tags:||!complete, agent washington, agent york|
Who: Wash and York
What: Wash shows up at York’s place, drunk
When: Friday, March 16
Where: York’s Apartment
Rating/Warnings Talk of drinking, alcoholism, but other than that it’s low
Wash had become something of a regular at this one specific bar. The bartender, as Wash had recently discovered, was also ex-military. He’d been in the Air Force, but hey, no one was perfect. He’d seen his own share of combat. As a result, he didn’t necessarily feel sorry for Wash, but he seemed to understand what the other man was going through. Their conversations were about the things they had experienced (at least the things Wash had seen that he was allowed to talk about) and when it became obvious Wash’d had more than enough to drink, the bartender called an Uber for him.
Tonight had been just like any other, except for when the bartender helped him outside and towards the waiting car. Before Wash got in the bartender pulled something from his pocket and pressed it into Wash’s hand.
“What’s this?” Wash mumbled as he looked at the slip of paper – a homemade leaflet, really – with a comforting sounding name and a phone number in bold font at the top and a list of dates and times underneath.
“It’s a support group,” the bartender said.
Wash frowned and tried to give the paper back, but the bartender refused to take it. “It’s not like that. It’s only military guys. We meet every week and just talk and help each other if we can.”
“We?” Wash repeated.
“I struggled for a long time after I got out,” the bartender went on. “My wife and my family tried to support me, they really did, but they had no idea what it was like for me to come home. It wasn’t their fault. Sometimes it’s important to remember or be reminded that we aren’t as alone as we feel we are. I’m not asking you to join us, just think about it, ok, Sargent?”
Wash looked at the leaflet in his hand again and nodded. Yeah. Sure. He’d think about it. The bartender than patted him on the back and helped him into the Uber. Wash was silent during the ride and thankfully after the initial introductions, the driver seemed content to leave Wash alone in his thoughts. He stared at the leaflet in his hands and mulled over what the bartender had told him. The man was right. Wash did feel alone. More like isolated. He knew he wasn’t. He had Carolina and he had York, but he had always struggled reaching out to them. Carolina had always dragged him, kicking and screaming, to face his demons. She was his sister, but she shouldn’t have do that. And York…he’d always been there. No matter what. They were close, but Wash still saw him as his superior officer. There were things you just didn’t talk to your superiors about. But after everything they’d been through…maybe if Wash asked…
Wash took a breath and looked up at the driver next to him, “hey, is it alright if I give you different address?” He asked.
“Yeah, sure. I’ll take you anywhere you want,” the driver said and then laughed, “within reason, of course. No all night drives to Vegas, yeah? I gotta be at my other job in the morning.”
No trips to Vegas tonight. Wash gave the driver York’s address. A few minutes later Wash was knocking on York’s door.
A loud barking came from the other side of the door at the knock. This was closely followed by York’s chastizing the pup, calling out for “Scoob” to “knock it off.” But it was hard to stay mad at that face. The dog had quickly become York’s best friend and closest companion. Aside from Wash and Carolina, of course. Though, they had other things going on, for better or for worse, so York found a lot of his afternoons and evenings free to hang out with his dog.
He pulled the door open, one hand trying to keep back the dog. But once he saw it was Wash, he didn’t bother. Scooby came bounding from behind York’s arm and jumped up all over the younger man.
“Hey!” York said, both pleasantly surprised and concerned at the appearance of a Wash on his doorstep. “What’s up? You okay? Come in! Come in! Scoob, get down. Get down.”
But the dog wouldn’t listen. He was too excited.
Wash was more of a cat person than he was a dog person, but truth was he was kind of a bleeding heart for most animals. Besides, living with Sophie the German Shepherd for the past year had taught him a lot about a dog’s behavior. Carolina’s training of Sophie (and to an extent Wash himself) had taught him a lot about how to control a dog as well. Plus, there was just something about dogs in general that put the former marine a little more at ease.
“Scooby,” he admonished in a stern, but not unkind voice. And when the dog obeyed and stopped jumping up on him, Wash crouched to give the puppy a good scratch behind the ears. Standing up again proved something of a trick. He wasn’t as drunk as he could have been, but he was very obviously drunk, especially the way he swayed when he stood up again.
“Hi, York,” he greeted the other man. “I uh…can I…” Damn it. Asking a simple question such as “can I talk to you?” shouldn’t have been this hard! He and York were close. They had been through some of the worst shit together. Wash trusted him more than he trusted most everyone else. And yet Wash still stumbled over his words as if he was confessing some major transgression to his superior officer.
In a way he was, though. In Wash’s mind the fact that he was drinking again was a huge transgression. Wash took a breath and reminded himself of what Carolina had told him: he couldn’t be selfish and ask for help at the same time. It was ok to ask for help.
“I’m sorry it’s so late,” he finally managed to get out, “but, uh, can I talk to you…just for a bit?”
York was a little impressed by how easily Wash was able to get Scoob to pay attention to him. His good eyebrow and bad eyebrow raised as he watched his friend scratch the dog around his ears. Then his heart sank as he saw Wash attempt to stand up, and teeter. York realized that Wash was blitzed. That was a very bad thing.
“Hey, it’s okay. You’re welcome anytime.” York stepped to the side so Wash could come the rest of the way into the apartment, then closed the door behind him. “What’s on your mind? And, uh… do I need to state the obvious?” He moved his finger in a circular motion at Wash, a slight scowl on his face.
“No,” Wash sighed and then stated the obvious himself, “I’m drunk. I started drinking after the Star of Wormwood threatened to destroy us...y’know...the big comet in the sky a few weeks ago? The Apocalypse?” He rubbed the back of his neck, his fingers passing over and pressing against the empty implants. “I...uh…” he faltered before continuing. Dammit it shouldn’t have been so hard for him to tell York, his friend what was going on. And yet, Wash struggled to even get the words out.
His eyes moved down to Scooby who was seated in between them, looking up at Wash with his big puppy-eyes and wagging tail. Wash was a little jealous of the dog for being so happy. He was quiet for another moment trying to summon the courage to actually speak to York. You can’t be selfish and ask for help at the same time…
“I can’t stop,” Wash said finally. “I don’t know what to do, but I know I can’t keep doing this. I don’t want to.”
Well, York wasn’t actually going to come out and say it, but when Wash did it seemed like a good place to start. He nodded, then motioned toward the sofa. His place was a tiny, one-bedroom apartment, and somehow it was crammed with furniture. York was a fairly big guy, with a huge puppy, and the space was just not working for them. Still, York wasn’t sure he could afford to move into a bigger place on his own.
He frowned a little when Wash admitted he couldn’t stop. “...do you want me to help you find...a place to go?” Like, a rehab center, or something? York wasn’t sure what they’d call it, but he knew there were places like that.
Wash looked at the sofa but didn’t sit. He knew if he did there was a very good chance he wouldn’t be getting back on his feet for awhile. Hell, he might even fall asleep and there were many, many things wrong with that. He shook his head a moment as if telling the couch itself he wasn’t going to sit. Then his attention moved back to York. His hand still on the back of his neck as he thought about what York was asking him. A place to go….”like rehab?” He asked. He’d thought about it before, the last time he’d fallen off the wagon, but he’d never actually gone, “maybe I should…” he said and his hand tightened on the back of his neck again. It was a scary idea and Wash wasn’t entirely sure why. “D-d’you think it’d work?” He asked next.
He hated how the alcohol broke through his carefully constructed barriers to allow that fear to show in his words. “D’you think if I went, it’d stop me from starting again?” Because that was Wash’s biggest problem. He could stop drinking. He’d detoxed twice in the past two years alone. It was a shitty experience, but one he knew he could do. It was the staying sober part that seemed to give him a hard time. “‘Cause I’ve stopped before,” he went on as if York didn’t already know, “it’s the staying sober part I can’t seem ta get right. Whenever something happens, something I can’t control -- my mind...I can’t let it go. It jus’ sticks in there and the only thing I know that makes it stop is to drink until I can’t think...or feel anything…” he trailed off.
His eyes were moving around York’s small apartment. He remembered when York had first moved into the placet. He hadn’t had any furniture. Somehow he’d managed to fix that and now what Wash remembered as being a fairly large open space was cramped with furniture tetrised in to fit just so with very little room for anything else.
Then his attention was back on Scooby, still sitting nearby, watching the two humans, tail wagging. “...I’ve lived my entire life moving from one crisis to another…” he heard his voice saying next. He didn’t want to talk about this, but his brain was too sluggish to respond to his desire to stop. “First it was my mother not wanting me around, then being the thing my stepfather took out his frustrations on. Then when I enlisted...I learned to thrive under crisis and now...Anna says I need to be here for the in-between stuff, but I don’t know how. There’s never been and in-between for me before. I don’t know what to do with it. I can’t…” his eyes moved back to York. “I can’t keep going on like this, can I?”
“I don’t know.” York said, honestly. Really, what Wash needed was someone to be around all the time. Not like, a 24/7 nurse, but just… a Carolina. A roommate-slash-older-sister-slash-CO who could help keep him on track. And now that Carolina was off living with what’shisname, Wash didn’t have that anymore. York sighed softly.
“You can’t keep on like this, you’ll kill yourself. Or, maybe worse, someone else. And that would hurt too many people. That’s not you, Wash. You don’t hurt people. Not like that.” He took a moment to think about it, scratching the dog behind his ears. Then he scratched his own ear. It was amazing how quickly York and Scooby had started to resemble one another in that way.
“You need a partner.” York offered up. “Someone to be there for you when things are rough, and when they’re not so rough. Someone to help remind you to be the best Wash you can be.”
The last thing Wash would do was blame his current situation on Carolina, or her moving in with Kanan. After everything she had been through she deserved her time to be happy and live with the man she loved. It had taken long enough for her to even admit that she was in love (much too long, if anyone wanted Wash’s opinion) and there was no way Wash would do anything to get in the way of that.
York wasn’t wrong though. Wash had done better when he and Carolina had lived together. It hadn’t been perfect. Wash had fallen off the wagon, yes, but he hadn’t felt quite so isolated when someone had been in the apartment with him. His addiction was a constant struggle he was going to have to live with. In the grand scheme of thing he was still coming to terms with it and what it meant. “A partner,” he repeated. It made sense, at least to Wash’s drunk mind. “Yeah. Ok,” he nodded. “I get what you mean. But...I can’t ask Carolina to move back in and I’d only be in the way at her house.” He was swaying a little on his feet, he could feel it. The room was starting to spin. “And Anna is so busy with her career. You know she’s gonna be in a TV show? Things are really takin’ off fer’er. I’m really happy fer her, y’know. I don’t wanna get in her way.” He shifted his feet clumsily under him. “And you…” he trailed, looking around York’s apartment, again, at all the furniture crammed into the small space. Already Scooby was taking up a lot of space just on his own, “...are really cramped in here.”
Well, York wasn’t blaming Carolina either. He just had mixed feelings about the whole thing, due to his long history with her. And he liked Kanan very much. He wished he could hate the guy, that would make things so much more simple. But he couldn’t. So he was stuck trying to root for the two of them, feeling jealousy mixed with happiness for them, and he just didn’t want to deal with any of it.
“I don’t think you’d get in her way,” York suggested, then he carefully watched Wash’s face as he looked around the apartment. York’s eyes traveled the room. Yeah, he was outgrowing this space. Rapidly. And soon Scooby wouldn’t even fit in here anymore with the furniture and the bookcase and…
“Yeah, probably time for me to get a new place.” York paused. “Hey, maybe we could get one together.”
“Huh?” Wash blinked slowly, York’s words taking their sweet time to register. “You an’ me? Our own place?” His brows furrowed together. It could work. He and York had lived together before when they’d been part of the same squad. He, York, Carolina, North, South, Maine All together in the same living space on whatever base they were stationed, or whatever tent pitched in the middle of a warzone. Sharing space, getting under each other’s feet. Forging bonds that would last a lifetime and more. It wouldn’t have been the same, both Wash and York were different men than they had been back then, but there was something about the notion that appealed to Wash.
Still, he hesitated, swaying on his feet as the room continued to spin around him. “Are you sure?” There were other things to consider. Anna and Carolina had their own lives to live and York did as well. Wash didn’t want to be a burden on anyone he cared about.
His hand tightened on the back of his neck. York was offering. This was his idea. He wouldn’t have offered if he didn’t want Wash with him. York had never been someone to just say something for the sake of saying it. Unless it was a joke. And those were almost always funny…
Wash’s eyes were squinting a little. The arrangement would help him and get York out of this tiny cramped apartment. They both would benefit. That was good, right? “Ok. Yeah. Sure. We can do that. I’d like that…”
“Yeah, man. I need someone to push the lawnmower, and I figure you’re able-bodied.” York teased. He didn’t exactly love how long it took Wash to realize what he was offering. But maybe that was part of the point. Wash needed someone to help him curb the drinking. York could definitely do that. Besides, it wasn’t as if they were strangers. They were practically brothers.
“I wouldn’t offer if I wasn’t sure.” York added, cocking his head to the side. “All right, then. It’s a deal. I just have a few… rules.” He sat up straighter, cleared his throat, and ticked them off on his fingers slowly. “Number one… Saturday is pajama day. No complaints. Number two… milkshakes are acceptable meal replacements. I will not be questioned on this.”
Wash listened very carefully. Being drunk, both these rules made sense. He nodded slightly. Too much movement would have made him fall over. “Pajama day an’ milkshakes. Got it. Uh, what if I gotta work on Saturdays?” He asked. “I’m not questioning, just, uh, wondering. ‘Cause it ‘appens sometimes. Me workin’ on the weekend, I mean.”
“Well, it’s not pajama day for you, necessarily. But Scoob and me? We get to wear whatever we want on Saturdays. No complaints.” York pointed a finger at Wash as if warning him. “You do your thing, I’ll do mine.” That seemed easy enough. “And we have Netflix shows to watch, so you might not always have control of the tv.” Because Scooby would get grumpy if he didn’t get to binge watch The Office at regular intervals.
“Scooby wears pajamas?” Wash asked, confused. He looked again at the puppy. At the sound of his name, the tail started wagging again, so very pleased with the attention. York could have been joking, but the thing with York was, putting his dog into a pair of doggy pajamas was not the strangest thing Wash had seen or heard him do.
Ok so Saturdays were Pajama Day for York and his dog. That seemed legit. As did milkshakes as meal replacements, until Wash wondered if York meant actual milkshakes – like from McDonalds or something – and not the protein shakes you could buy from the health food store. Wash’s brows furrowed together a little more as he looked at his friend. Nah, York was probably joking about that too. Probably. Maybe?
“No questions,” Wash promised, sloppily crossing his chest to indicate his oath. “An’ no complaints. I don’t watch a lotta TV. Sometimes I play video games on the Xbox, but, uh, mostly I can do those on my computer.” Slight pause and Wash looked thoughtful, “I don’t think I got any rules. I go runnin’ in the mornin’, pretty early. Like ‘fore the sun comes up. Less people out then.” And he ran every morning, regardless if he was hungover or not. Sometimes the run was exactly what he needed to power through a hangover faster. “I useta take Sophie with me, so if you an’ Scooby wanna join me, ya can. Or I kin take Scooby out for you.”
Which made Wash think of something else. “Oh. Yeah. The cats. Both Suda and Kojima are good with other people and dogs. Well. Kojima is good with other people. Suda mostly ignores people unless she wants to be fed. Both of’em got along with Sophie pretty good so I think they’ll be awright with Scooby. D’ya think Scoob will be ok with them?” He was already more than half Sophie’s size and he was still growing.
That brought a bright grin to York’s face. Good. Wash wasn’t gonna argue--not that he was expecting he would. Seriously, though, York didn’t have a lot of rules for his place. And it wasn’t like they were strangers. They communicated well, they knew each other really well. This was gonna be a good thing.
“The more the merrier,” York replied. “I’m sure Scooby’s good with them. I’m just worried they’re gonna freak out about him. We’ll take it slow.” The more he thought about it, the more excited he was. They could play video games all night and order pizza whenever they wanted. They could take the dog on an early morning jog together. Or not. The possibilities were endless.
Wash smiled a small smile. York’s enthusiasm was good for him. Having York around would be good for him as well. He could keep Wash on track and even if Wash wasn’t quite at the point where he could openly admit he had PTSD, much less the cause for it, York’s ability to make Wash grin no matter what would be amazing. The two of them knew each other well. “I’m sure Scooby will be fine,” he agreed with a nod. Scooby was a loveable pup, a little excitable maybe, but that could be worked on. Kojima would like to have someone to play with again now that Sophie had moved out with Carolina. Suda would probably express her displeasure the first week or so and then be over it. At least that’s what she had done when Sophie had first arrived at the apartment and then again when Sophie had brought home Kojima.
Now it was just a matter of Wash getting himself sober again so the five of them could start out on the right foot. That was going to be the hard part. The idea of rehab still frightened him -- going through what he had at the cabin among a bunch of people he didn’t know much less trusted. And he knew it would be a repeat of the cabin. He’d been drinking non-stop since the Star of Wormwood. The smile fell away and his hand tightened on. “I’m, uh, I’m going to take a few days to dry out and it’s probably not gonna be pretty.”
York nodded. He understood what not gonna be pretty meant. He wasn’t sure if there was anything he could do to help, though he imagined that there was nothing anyone could do to help, really. It was just something that his body had to do on its own. There were no shortcuts or easy routes. But York could absolutely be there for his friend. They could find a place for Wash to do whatever it was his body needed to do.
“Take your days. Whatever you need. You wanna crash here tonight?” He asked. “I’ve got a pull-out couch with your name on it.”
Wash had to admit that he felt better with this new plan. He wasn’t looking forward to detoxing again, of course. He knew that was going to be hell. But it was necessary in order for this idea to work. “If you could...check on me? A couple of times?” He asked carefully. If for nothing else, if something should go horribly wrong, York would be able to help him. However, he didn’t want to put the man through what Carolina had gone through at the cabin.
His eyes fell onto the couch and he realized just how tired he was. The room was still spinning and he was becoming more and more unstable on his feet as the alcohol continued to metabolize through his system. He nodded again. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to crash here,” he said. “I don’t think I’d make it home like this.”
“Yeah.” York said, all serious now. He would absolutely check on Wash during his friend’s detox. Maybe more than a couple of times. He’d bring food and water, and make sure that Wash was doing okay. It was going to be hell, for sure, but York would never make his friend go through that kind of thing alone. That was cruel.
York wasn’t gonna let Wash leave now. He wanted it to feel like Wash’s decision, but York’s mind had already been made. “Of course.” He moved around to the sofa to pull out the bed, doing so quickly and swiftly. It was already made with a thin blanket, but York would grab another from the closet, too. “I’ll get you a bucket. Just in case.”
Seeing the pull out pretty much made up Wash’s mind about spending the night. Even though it was a pull out it looked comfortable and it was becoming more and more difficult to stay on his feet. “Thanks, man,” he said gratefully, already making his way to the pull out and practically falling onto it. With the decision made about getting a house for the two of them, Wash felt as though a bit of the weight came off his shoulders.