Disclaimer: HBO owns Oz, Dick Wolf owns SVU.
Summary: The guys get drunk. Written for the Oz Magi Festival of 2007.
Elliot stopped right on the other side of the door and took a look around. He wanted to drink, but alone was a bad idea. Alone might see him drunk, and he couldn‛t do that. A couple of beers, yes, but not so much that he had to get a cab. The place was about empty, but luckily he knew the guy at the end of the bar. Not well, but well enough to share a drink and then go home.
"Good evening, Detective."
Elliot settled onto the stool, being careful not to sigh with relief at the sight of the beer that was slid down to him. He nodded his thanks, took a long drink, and glanced at the man who he hoped would help keep him sober. "Counselor."
Tobias Beecher was an attorney, but he wasn‛t a dirtbag like most of them. He had morals - or at least a few more of them.
"Long day at the office, huh?"
Elliot took a long drink of his beer instead of answering. It hadn‛t been one long day. That, he‛d could‛ve dealt with. It was the culmination of days that was making his shoulders slump. He tried to shrug them away, but he knew that if he managed to escape that reality, Kathy was waiting for him. That situation wasn‛t days. That was years, and he was tired of it all.
"I agree. Let‛s not talk. Let‛s drink." Beecher raised his glass. "Another scotch, please!"
Elliot waited until the bartender was gone. "Now that‛s a serious drink. I‛ll be pouring you into a cab later."
Beecher‛s eyes were on his beverage. "You‛re a one beer kind of guy. Don‛t worry, I‛ll stagger out and find one myself."
"Stan! Refill his, give me what he‛s having, make it a double, and stay close by." Elliot caught Beecher‛s hand as it went for his wallet. "Drinks are on me."
Beecher looked down at their locked hands. "I‛ll get them next time."
"Deal." Elliot pushed his beer aside and threw back the hard stuff. It burned and when it was down, he noticed Beecher had been staring. The lawyer quickly looked away. Elliot chuckled, but it was raw. "What?"
"You usually drink beer." Beecher had the bartender add another finger‛s worth to his glass. "Watch." He tossed it back easily, and his glass was refilled the instant it touched the bar. "See the difference?"
"So, you‛re a slosh. I‛ll remember that." Elliot was teasing, but he saw that he shouldn‛t have. "Hey, sorry. You‛re right. I usually stick with beer."
Beecher pointed at Elliot‛s glass. The bartender took care of it, and he said, "It‛s okay. You‛re perceptive, as usual. I got my two year chip last week." He dug in his pocket and tossed it on the bar. "Ironic, I guess."
Elliot picked it up and flipped it through his fingers. He hadn‛t realized, but, of course, he wouldn‛t have. Their paths through the judicial system rarely crossed. The scotch suddenly didn‛t look so inviting, but he took another small sip.
"Brought that conversation to a close. I guess the defense rests." Beecher suddenly unhooked his glasses from behind his ear and tucked them away. "There. Now the world looks better."
"Two years seems like a long time." Elliot swirled the scotch in his glass. He wasn‛t going to criticize, but he had to say something.
Beecher laughed, but it didn‛t sound amusing. "Damn straight it was - especially the first six months." He sighed very softly. "In the end, it didn‛t make any difference. There was no quid pro quo, only silence, and then nothing at all."
Elliot wasn‛t sure he understood. "She left you?"
Beecher gave a short nod and drained his glass. "Is my story sad enough to earn me another glassful?"
Elliot had the bartender refill it. A long lecture on being strong and not giving into temptation was probably what should come out of his mouth, but he stared at his scotch instead. "Did you know?"
"Let‛s talk about you instead. It‛s time for the cross." Beecher quirked his lips. "Why‛d you switch from beer to something guaranteed to make it hurt in the morning?"
Elliot considered the question carefully. He took a drink to forestall his answer another minute. "She walked away from me."
"They‛ll do that." Beecher picked up the chip that Elliot had dropped. "Were we not enough or too much?"
"Or just unavailable," Elliot muttered. He didn‛t have any answers, and if he hadn‛t been talking about his wife, it was between him and God. "Is it so easy for them?"
Beecher nodded and ran one hand through his hair. "Guess so. God, we‛re a couple of sad drunks. Maybe we should go find some hookers."
Elliot didn‛t think so. He‛d just feel guilty. Guiltier. He hadn‛t signed the papers yet. And Dani . . . well, he shoved that thought away. She wasn‛t coming back. "With my luck, I‛d get arrested."
Beecher laughed and this time it was an honest one. He took another drink, and Elliot joined him. They kept the bartender busy, and they stopped talking, concentrating on drinking. They might have glanced at each other once or twice, but there wasn‛t anything left to say.
"Elliot, don‛t you think you‛ve had enough?"
Elliot turned his head and tried to focus his eyes on his boss. "Not quite yet. I‛m still conscious. Have you met my drinking buddy? Tobias Beecher."
Cragen shook his head and sighed. "Let me get you a cab."
"Nah. I‛m getting one for Tobias here, but he wants to finish a bottle first." Elliot grinned over at him. "Right?"
"Yep." Tobias grinned back at him. "I‛ll start on a new chip in the morning."
Cragen didn‛t look amused, but that was normal. "Elliot, getting drunk won‛t solve anything."
Elliot tried not to laugh, but he thought maybe he did. Tobias was laughing, and suddenly it was hilarious. Cragen put his hand on his forehead and muttered something before walking away. Elliot was sad to see him go.
"He doesn‛t drink."
"Do we?" Tobias slowly turned his glass upside down.
"Just tonight, I think." Elliot glanced at his boss. "He comes here to eat with Mike Logan every now and then." He looked in his own empty glass. "Damn. That was quick."
Tobias giggled and leaned against him. "Okay, should I get another round?"
Elliot wasn‛t sure. He was drunk, or at least, he thought he was, and he‛d been going to avoid that, but he couldn‛t remember why. "I know a place."
"Let‛s go." Tobias got up and tossed down a hundred. Elliot picked it up and tried to hand it back. He was buying, but Tobias was already going to the door. The bartender plucked it out of Elliot‛s hand, and he gave up.
"Elliot, get a cab," Cragen said forcefully.
"You betcha." Elliot was right behind Tobias and they were out on the sidewalk. He put his fingers in his mouth and whistled down a cab. "Toby!"
Toby turned around and frowned at him. "What? Oh, there you are. Okay."
The cab stopped, they piled inside, and Elliot gave the driver directions. Toby was leaning against him, and he put his hand on Toby‛s forehead and gave a push. They laughed together.
"For a lawyer, you ain‛t so bad." Elliot was willing to admit it just once.
Toby got out his glasses, put them on, looked at him for a moment, and then took them off. "You‛re usually a cooperative witness, for a cop."
Elliot grinned and paid the cabbie. They got out, and the sidewalk was a big step, but they made it. "You can say no."
"Wouldn‛t dream of it." Toby opened the door and music and smoke poured out. "You get a table. I‛ll get us some drinks."
Elliot wasn‛t sure that was right, but he went to get a table in the back, where he was less likely to feel guiltier. Coming here had been a bad idea. He‛d have to go to confession on Sunday.
"Damn. You look sad." Toby put down two glasses of whiskey. "Should I have gotten drinks with umbrellas?"
"God, no." Elliot found his glass, pleased that he didn‛t miss. He wasn‛t that drunk. They clinked glasses and put more fuel on the fire.
Toby tilted his head to the side. "Now that girl can work a pole."
Elliot could only agree. He took a long drink and sighed. Coming here had been a mistake. He wasn‛t able to enjoy this - not after working in Special Victims. "She‛s someone‛s daughter."
"Ah fuck. You‛re getting all maudlin on me." Toby rubbed his face. "You were a happy drunk five minutes ago. Focus on that!"
Elliot could see Toby‛s point, but it was going to be hard to get it back. "Women like her end up as paperwork on my desk."
Toby rubbed Elliot‛s shoulder. "I‛m sure she‛s happy and well-adjusted, working her way through college and buying all the latest fashion."
"What?" Elliot stared at his whiskey. He drank it quickly, and blearily realized that Toby wasn‛t all that drunk. With a soft groan, he remembered that he wasn‛t going to get drunk. "This isn‛t working out like I planned."
"You planned this?" Toby laughed. "I‛m flattered."
Elliot shoved his glass away. "I‛m done." He was. He‛d been stupid to think that this would help, and now he could add shame to guilt. He stood and was glad the room held still. Toby‛s hand dropped away, and Elliot rubbed his face. "See ya around."
Toby didn‛t sit back down. He shrugged and followed along. Elliot went out into the cool night air that he wished could clear his head. Toby laughed softly. "Never any luck with women."
Elliot straightened his back and wiped his mouth. "You going home?"
"I could, but there‛s no one there." Toby looked up and down the street. "All night diner over there. We could get some coffee."
"Good idea." Elliot took a step and was glad when Toby was close enough to lean against. Toby laughed several times about nothing, and Elliot felt his stomach complain. "Stupid idea."
Toby tugged him to a stop. "Caring about them enough to get drunk, or hanging out with a lawyer?"
Elliot found a grin. "Both. Where are your lawyer buddies?"
"I hate lawyers." Toby grinned back at him. Elliot laughed, and Toby leaned against a building to laugh with him. It was funny, and it was good to laugh instead of feeling as if he was one breath away from crying. They sagged against each other, and he was glad for the company, glad for the touch and the laughter and the feeling that he wasn‛t quite so alone. Toby was suddenly moving against him, pressing into him. It was a shock, and then his dick liked it, and they were kissing.
"Get a goddamn room!"
Elliot wrenched his mouth away, but Toby‛s mouth simply slid down to suck gently on his neck. "Is this why she left you?" he asked very softly with no condemnation.
Toby seemed to slump against him. "I played by her rules, but . . . I don‛t want to any longer."
Elliot understood that perfectly. He kept his arm around him and hailed another cab. Toby didn‛t argue with any of the decisions Elliot made, and when the door to the hotel room was shut, they both breathed a sigh of relief.
"I was never a good drunk." Elliot sat down hard on the big bed. This may have been a huge mistake, but he couldn‛t go home alone. Not again. Not tonight.
Toby took off his suit coat and threw it in a chair. "I was always a great drunk. Life of the party. It all seems stupid now. I should‛ve stayed sober."
Elliot nearly reached for him, changed his mind, and tried to remember why he‛d gone out drinking tonight. "Yeah."
Toby loosened his tie. "That‛s it? Yeah? That‛s your response when I pour out my drunken heart to you?"
Elliot raised his hands. He wasn‛t good at this stuff. That‛s what Kathy had always said. He pushed off his leather coat and rubbed his face. "I gotta piss." He saw the look on Toby‛s face, but he really did have to go, and he stumbled to the bathroom. The man in the mirror wasn‛t someone he wanted to look at, and he got out quickly.
Toby had the TV on and was stretched out on the bed with his hands laced across his chest. He looked half-asleep and maybe it was true, but he was a lawyer and they invented lying. Elliot took a long look at the door and considered using it.
"Did you cheat?"
Elliot licked his dry lips, swallowed some spit that echoed scotch, and pushed his shoes off. He eased onto the bed and put his back against the wall. "Is it cheating if we‛re separated?"
"The lawyer in me says yes." Toby didn‛t even look at him. "But I‛d say no."
"I feel like I did." Elliot hadn‛t felt that way at first, but he knew the truth. "Guess that‛s all that matters."
"Yeah." Toby smirked. "I gotta piss."
Elliot laughed softly, accepting the lack of comfort in his own words. He relaxed a little and was glad the room was slightly fuzzy. The world could go away for a while. Toby came back out, and Elliot saw him take a good look at the door.
"Where‛d she go?" It was Elliot‛s turn to ask a question.
Toby swallowed hard. He came back to his side of the bed and sat gingerly. "San Diego, to be with her parents."
Elliot had no trouble hearing a world of hurt and reached for him now. His kids were in Queens. Toby crumbled into him with a small gasp that could have been pain. Elliot stroked his hand through Toby‛s hair. "It‛ll hurt less in a few months," he lied.
"Experience talking?" Toby was holding on tightly.
"Yeah." Elliot wished the ache from missing his kids would get better, but it hadn‛t yet, and he didn‛t really want it to dim. He didn‛t know what kind of man Toby was. Maybe he would get over it. The kiss was sudden, and it seared away the remnants of worry. There were no awkward questions or long pauses that would give him a chance to make for the door. No, he was committed and when warm hands grasped him, he was glad he wasn‛t so drunk that he couldn‛t feel it. Toby teased and licked and put his hands in places that made Elliot groan.
Elliot wasn‛t sure exactly when he got naked, but he ended up that way, shoving against Toby‛s bare flesh. Toby‛s hand locked their dicks together, and he gasped again and again as he pushed into skin. Toby curled his tongue into Elliot‛s mouth and they bucked against each other. Elliot felt his skin tingle and he sank down as he came. He managed to slide off, holding him close as they both made soft noises of completion.
Toby‛s eyes were shut and Elliot kissed him once on the forehead. The scotch suddenly overwhelmed him, and it all went black. It was the smell of coffee that woke him up, and he took a long stretch behind pounding eyeballs before he even considered throwing the covers off. The dim light was enough to make him retch, and he stumbled to the bathroom to lean over the sink. A small coffee pot was close, but he couldn‛t look at it yet. He got in the shower and let the water sober him up. It didn‛t help the headache, but at least he was alive.
Drying off slowly, he eyed the coffee and considered it. He wondered who made it for one second and then spotted the business card.
Tobias Beecher, Attorney at Law
Elliot flipped it over.
He put it down slowly and scrubbed his face with the towel. Belief was slow in coming, but it had happened. The night was blurry, though certain moments stuck out. He dropped the towel, poured himself some coffee, and took it to get dressed. When his phone rang, it took him a minute to find it.
"Elliot, take the day," Cragen said, and his voice seemed to boom inside Elliot‛s brain.
Elliot‛s protest died in his throat as he realized that he‛d put his underwear on backwards. Maybe a day off was a good idea. "Sure. Sorry."
"Can you whisper?" Elliot asked quietly. "Yeah. I‛m headed home."
"Where are you?" Cragen asked very softly.
"No idea." Elliot wasn‛t telling. "Thanks." He hung up, tossed the phone on the bed, and concentrated on the coffee. Thinking about last night did nothing but make him question his sanity. Had he lost so much that he would reach out for anything? He padded into the bathroom and scooped up the business card. "Why you?"
Elliot dropped it in the trash. It had happened, but it was nothing more than desperation. He finished dressing and his coffee. The fact that Toby had left without a word slowly surfaced, and Elliot pushed it away. It was better this way - avoid embarrassment. Neither of them had known what they were doing. Too much grief in their lives had forced them to make decisions that they normally wouldn‛t. He made sure he had everything and walked out, but at the last second, he shoved the door back open and grabbed the business card from the trash. He tucked it in his pocket and his fingers brushed something he didn‛t recognize. Pulling it out, he smiled a little. It was Toby‛s two year chip.
Toby would have to start over now. Elliot frowned and hoped that Toby did just that. Maybe a call to check on him was a good idea. It couldn‛t hurt. Elliot pulled out his phone and leaned against his car to make the call. It was picked up quickly.
"Hey, you okay?"
"Do you have to talk so loud?" Toby asked softly.
Elliot laughed, but not loudly, and whispered, "Sorry. Get to work on that next chip, okay?"
"Yeah. I will. I‛m not the man I used to be." Toby sounded tired. "I won‛t see you in a bar again."
"Good." Elliot was glad. He was. He took a deep breath. "I get pizza occasionally."
Toby was quiet a long time, but finally. "Thanks for saying that. Later."
"Bye." Elliot shut his phone and got in his car. It was time to go home and face the decisions that he had to make there. He could do it.