disclaimers: not mine pairings: none - quatre, (hint of quatre/trowa)
word count: 703
warnings: angst, AU, drinking binge

author's note: for anne, because this is her story, no matter how long (and pieces) it takes me to write. this is part of the From Boys to Soldiers to Men arc. the title is inspired by the elton john song rocket man. for anyone recovering or has recovered from any addiction, you know the feeling.

It's Gonna be a Long, Long Time
by Merith

Wet. He was wet, water on his face, water dripping down inside his collar. His eyes blinked open and he immediately closed them, groaning and covering them with a hand. A couple of deep breaths and he thought he could open them again.

Light was filtered through the hazy clouds and ground covering mist. Sound was muted, but the steady crash and lap of waves told him he was close to the ocean. He closed his eyes again and his hand shook as he wiped the moisture from his face. It was more the bad taste in his mouth than the pain receptors that let him know what he'd been doing. The same thing he'd been doing for too long now.

He struggled to sit up, but his left arm had been tucked behind him, and gave way. It tingled in sweeping stabs of pain as circulation was restored. The grass under his hands gave way, the soil oozed up as mud between his fingers. He rubbed his fingers over the grass, and wiped the remaining mud off on his pants. The patch of turf he'd slept on was tucked into a niche of trees, but there was a dirt track that looked like a road just below.

His arm dislodged a bottle, and he stared at it for several long moments, his hand twitched wanting to reach for it. Even though his stomach protested the thought, claws of craving were climbing their way out. The need overwhelming, the bottle was to his lips and the liquor washing over his tongue - the pain in his head receded; his stomach recoiled, and he was on his knees vomiting in the grass. Sitting back, he raised the bottle again, swallowed slowly and let it burn its course down.

It was empty, and he tossed it to the side. Time to find out where he was and to

"...take any more. Until you can stop..."

head for home. He was frowning suddenly; Trowa's voice had been sad but certain. His eyes were stinging, too dry for moisture to form. Blinking them helped but the pain remained. He staggered to his feet, fighting for balance in a suddenly tilted world and he nearly felt to his knees.

A minute of standing, weaving about with his arms spread, his world righted. Somewhere not far off, a gull called. His shirt was soaked, a white button-up, one he'd worn to work the day before (or had it been the day before that?) he didn't remember; couldn't remember; wouldn't remember. A drink with the boys and home to Trowa, and Trowa was waiting for him. He waved a hand as if to brush the memory away. His suit coat was no where to be found. Red stained the front of his shirt; the rain faded the color, drawing it down. His slacks were in ruin, a knee torn through, mud and grass and what might be blood splattered their length.

"Car." His voice was a croak and he shuddered. "Where's my car?"

At the road, he stopped and looked down. A shoe was submersed in a muddy puddle off the road's shoulder. His shoe. He drained the shoe of water, shaking out the excess and slipped it over his foot. It squelched when he crossed the blacktop. They'd been his favorite pair of loafers.

Down the curving bend of road, he spotted it. His car was halfway through a guardrail, its front bumper firmly planted into the bark of a tree. He was shaking and had to stop for a moment. His eyes were drawn over the rail and down the cliff to the rocky beach below. It had been so

"...bottom of a cliff or into the side of a bus, and then what?"

close. He closed his eyes, his breathing shaky, and raised a hand to rub at the persistent ache. He was hissing at the sudden stinging pain and jerked his hand away. Dried and fresh blood spotted his fingers and he was looking at his car again.

He still had no idea where he was, but he had an idea of what he needed to do.


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