“Dan, please, calm down.” Daniel had only been home for a few moments, but the slammed door and Daniel’s flashing eyes told Gabe that the results of the subpoena had been poor.
“How can you say that? How can you say ‘calm down’?”
Gabe pressed his lips together but didn’t protest when Daniel yanked off his jacket, dumping it in a heap on the floor. “What happened?”
“You know damn well what happened. You know what they do.”
“No, I don’t, Dan. When they brought me in for questioning, I cooperated. They asked me a few things and then let me go.”
Daniel scowled and threw himself down into the easy chair. Gabe winced a little as he heard it creak, but now was not the time to discuss the state of their apartment. He bit his lip. “Do you want some coffee or something?”
“That shit’ll just make me jumpy. If I’m gonna drink something right now, it’s gonna be something hard.”
Gabe’s eyes widened. “Danielâ€¦ you haven’t had a drink in six months.”
“Seven,” Daniel corrected. He slumped in the chair, the defensive gleam going out of his eyes. “Just get me something to drink, okay?”
Gabe swallowed and nodded. He didn’t feel right leaving Daniel alone, so he propped the kitchen door open just enough so that Dan could hear his movements and maybe catch a glimpse of his body. He poured a shot of whiskey into the wide bottom of a juice glass and brought it back out to Daniel, kneeling carefully beside the easy chair.
Daniel took the glass, but he didn’t raise it. He didn’t look at it, either; his eyes were dim and unfocused, staring at something beyond the off-white carpet that no one could see but him. “They used the new probe,” he said finally, the words drawn out slowly, like handkerchiefs from the mouth of a clown.
Gabe gasped. “Oh my Godâ€¦ Danâ€¦ I thought they only did that to the criminals, not witnesses.”
“Yeah, well, I guess they didn’t like my attitude. They didn’t like the fact that my address was the same as yours, either.” Daniel glanced at Gabe, then looked away again, squeezing his eyes shut. “It’s likeâ€¦ fuck, Gabe, it’s like nothing. I can’t even describe it. Like someone ripping through your brain, tossing shit around, tearing things up. It’s like cops without a warrant trashing your place because you live in the slums and can’t do shit about it. And then they wipe their dicks on your face afterwards.”
“Danâ€¦” Gabe reached out and took the drink from Daniel’s slack fingers, setting it carefully on the floor. Then he reached up and pulled Daniel into a hug, pressing the other man’s face into his chest and squeezing tight. He felt Daniel’s hands slowly raise and grasp the front of his shirt. “Are you going to have to go to court?”
“No. They got everything they needed. They’ll just pull it up on the screen for the jury. I don’t even have to testify.”
Gabe didn’t ask any more questions. He just stroked Daniel’s hair.
After a long time, Daniel spoke again. “I can’t find my memories,” he admitted in a small voice. “I know they’re there, and I know they can’t erase anything with the probeâ€¦ but everything’s all moved around. I can’t find it. Little things I remember, like how to get home or which shelf we keep the mayo on, but big things, important things, are just…” He buried his head in Gabe’s chest. “Iâ€”I’m so confused.”
Gabe swallowed. “Shh,” he told Daniel. “If you worry about it, it’s just going to make it worse. You’ll find it all eventually.”
There was another long silence before Daniel asked quietly, “Gabe?”
“I can’t remember how we first met.”
Gabe’s arms tightened around Daniel.
“Then I’ll tell you.”