bestie (may i call you bestie) i just read your tags on that gas station max fanart and i am Begging if you have more thoughts throw them at my face
dan being a happy go lucky gambler in hawaiian shirts is SUCH A CONCEPT
first of all YES of course you can call me bestie bestie (crying emoji except i'm on my laptop)
second of all thank you for asking about this b/c i truly need the distraction from writing my h/c exchange fic! let's get into it.
so as elaborated a little in the tags on this incredible drawing of gas station max, max and daniel are both professional gamblers (@freepractice pointed out that they're in atlantic city not vegas bc it's seedier, which i buy so let's go with that--i know nothing about either). daniel is a bit more above-board about all of it, he does those texas hold 'em poker tournaments/world series of poker shit you see on espnU at like 3 am in hotel rooms. wears horrific hawaiian shirts and ray-bans and his version of a poker face is smiling all the time.
max is a young guy who just showed up recently at the blackjack tables, very reserved and tense, very good. wins maybe too much--anyway, you start to hear his name. rumors about his dad and the mob and stuff that might have happened in monaco but nothing concrete. daniel kind of ignores it, that stuff is almost always just people trying to create some kind of mobster glamour around this--job.
but anyway: no one can deny that max wins a lot. and as reserved as he is at the tables, he celebrates by partying just as hard. and daniel likes to drink too. daniel realizes he's started to celebrate a good night by finding max and making him laugh, which is--anyway.
he's trying to find max one of those nights, in fact, when he stumbles into [organized crime shit guys talking suspiciously in a darkened room, etc, i can't do this plot part but -- conspiracy etc daniel Hears Too Much]. max is there talking to a guy who's kind of yelling at him? max's shoulders hunched. daniel is already pretty buzzed so he goes over to them to be like hey what the fuck is up homies????
but it's like -- not good. max's face goes very blank and tight the second he sees daniel and he's like, no, you can't be here -- but then that's the last thing daniel remembers until he's getting fucked up by goons in an alleyway?? someone is punching him again and again in the face etc saying they don't want to ever see him in atlantic city again.!!!
daniel stumbling trying to stand up again against a wall, trash all around him, someone is pointing a fucking gun at him like they're in a fucking movie or something and it's the most terrified he's ever been in his life but also none of it seems real, he keeps expecting it to just not be real. and then max shows up and like, says something to the gun guy and the guy gives max the gun and leaves and max is pointing the gun at daniel --
but as soon as the guy is gone max is like, dropping the gun and running over to daniel and touching his face which fucking hurts, ow, fuck, and saying, 'can you walk? we have to go. right now.'
and daniel's like what the fuck are you talking about we have to call the cops??? but even as he's saying it he sees something in max's face that--he trails off. he tries to smile but it really hurts. he's like, 'well, i always knew i'd have to get out of this goddamn shithole one day.'
getting to max's car (of gas station max edit fame) and max just driving and driving. he gets daniel ice at the first gas station they stop at, heading west from new jersey, hands it to daniel but not before folding it up clumsily in a piece of cloth that daniel realizes must be max's undershirt. daniel holds the ice to his face and it comes away all bloody and he looks in the rearview mirror and -- fuck. he looks really bad.
he kind of starts shaking then, it's all hitting him, the buzz he had when he went to go find max in the first place is fading, what the fuck are they doing what's even going on? he's like max what -- you have to to tell me what's happening if you're gonna kidnap me like this, i'm not that cheap of a date. trying to make a joke. but max's hands are white knuckled on the wheel and he's checking the rearview over and over again, driving them too fast in the dark on the highway.
max only starts to talk when they've checked into a seedy motel for the night. one room (the only available is a queen ~whoops~) because max says it's safer?? he still has the -- fuck. he still has the gun. daniel's like max i'm not fucking sleeping in here with you unless you tell me right now what is going on, this isn't some fun spontaneous road trip anymore.
max is like -- locking the door and peering out the peephole and checking the lock again -- fine. he turns out the lights and checks the door again and then he sits up in the bed against the headboard with the gun in his lap which is--daniel can't think about any of this.
and max finally tells daniel about his dad and what his dad is involved in and what max is involved in too, because of him -- he didn't cheat at blackjack, he's always been that good at it, but he was supposed to play so well that it distracted people from [actual crime] and he was part of the whole thing and daniel doesn't realize it but what he heard was really bad, they were going to kill him for it.
which makes, like--that can't be real. none of this can be real. but max is like, daniel, you have to believe me. you can't go back there, they can't find you. and daniel's like, still processing all of it. they gave you the gun. did they think you were -- were you supposed to --. like. was max supposed to shoot him?
but even as he asks he knows that for some reason he's not scared. max could have killed him a bunch of times already and he didn't. he got daniel ice and he wrapped it in his shirt and his hands on daniel's face when he found him in the alley, trying to be gentle, checking, scared.
max is like, they said i had to do it. but. i couldn't. i could never have. they don't really know me at all. he kind of laughs a little at that but it's a bad laugh. my dad doesn't really know me at all, if he thought i could do that. and daniel's like, well. thanks, maxy, for not killing me. i owe you one for that.
and then he looks over at max in the dark and he's like -- thank you for saving my life. and max shrugs. it's his fault anyway that any of it happened; he didn't save daniel's life, he ruined it. but daniel's like, max, hey. that's not true. i'd rather be on the run with you anyway, it was all getting pretty boring. maybe we can head to vegas, maybe we can get out of the country altogether, set up shop somewhere like macao -- we'd make a pretty good living, the two of us together.
and max is like, together? and daniel's like, fuck, i mean, not to presume -- but then max is leaning towards him in the dark with the gun in his lap and his mouth is on daniel's, and it hurts, max is clumsy and unsure until daniel kisses him back through the pain of it and then he's gasping. daniel's lip splits open again and when max pulls back his mouth is bloody and wet and they're grinning at each other: all of it is insane but, fuck. daniel's excited.
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