They pull up outside warehouse number seven and according to their lead it should be nice and empty. It’s a long shot, Steve will admit it, but they need a break on this case soon, and this is all they have. He switches off the truck engine and sits for a minute, glances over at Danny, who’s been suspiciously quiet pretty much the whole ride over.
"Well?" Steve says after another beat. "Don’t you want to, you know, have your say?"
Danny looks at him, one eyebrow arching. "My say? Well, I, no. You know what? No, I don’t want to have my say. Because you already know what I’m going to tell you."
Steve grins. It’s true. He does.
"Come on," he wheedles. "It won’t be the same if you don’t, you know." He waves a hand in Danny’s general direction for emphasis. Danny just purses his lips and shakes his head once, then reaches for the door handle, pops it, and slides out of the truck.
"Can we just? Can we just do this thing, please? I mean, you’re never interested in my say any other time. So, could we just?"
Steve can’t help it, honestly. Needling Danny is too easy, too much fun, and he’s fairly sure that Danny secretly likes the attention, enjoys the quick back and forth between them as much as Steve does. He leans over for the tyre iron that’s under the seat, climbs down out of the truck and shuts the door. By the time he reaches the other side, Danny is over by the warehouse entrance.
"You are feeling all right, aren’t you, Danno?" Steve asks casually, hefting the iron. "You do realise you’re deviating from the norm here. It’s kind of unsettling."
Danny just ignores him.
"Looked through the window and thought I saw a – I don’t know, take your pick – something suspicious," he monotones. "Go ahead and do your thing."
Steve pauses, but really it’s only to relish the moment. "Not going to ask me to call for back up?"
Danny just gives him a look. "It’s a warehouse and the middle of the night," he says. "Who are we going to meet? And would you wait until it got here anyway?"
Steve just hefts the iron again.
"See? This is what I’m talking about," Danny sighs. "I have come to the conclusion that it’s just better for me if I just go with it, you know? It’s like, I have to be the water. So, here I am, I am being the water."
Steve sets the tyre iron against the door jam and gives Danny another grin.
"Brah, I have no idea what you’re talking about," he says, even though he kind of does and it’s kind of hysterical, coming from Danny. "Do you need to pee, or something?" He pushes on the iron and the wood of the door frame creaks encouragingly.
"Do I need to pee. No, I do not need to pee," Danny says, patience just dripping from his tone like some kind of toxic substance. "You’re funny. You think you’re funny, right? Just get this door open, you comedian. We’ve got just cause for entry – barely – and I really do not like loitering around out here in the dark. I mean, what if the cops come along?"
"Now who’s being funny?" Steve points out, pushing, and the wood around the lock on the door gives with a splintering crack and he puts the iron down, pulls his gun and pushes the door open.
"Shut. Just, shut up and get your ass inside, would you? I mean, really." He gives Steve a push and Steve steps inside, still grinning.
A couple of silent minutes to check no one’s lurking who hasn’t already made a break for it after all that chatter at the door, and Steve nods at the upstairs room, one floor up.
"Why don’t you check out the office while I take a look around down here," he suggests, because even he knows when to ease up on the wise-cracks, although Danny would probably disagree. "We want shipping manifestos, pick up points, contacts, anything to connect the haul at Kamalino to Uahi and his operations."
"You know, contrary to popular opinion, I do in fact know what I’m doing, Steven," Danny says dryly, starting up the stairs to their right that leads to the fishbowl of an office. "Or need I remind you that only one of us here has actually read the rule book regarding lawful investigation procedures and the need for, oh, warrants and all those little annoying things that apparently stop you from running off to get shot at every other episode, and his name isn’t Steven."
"Hey," Steve objects from the floor as he makes his way over to a stack of shipping crates. "We haven’t been shot at this week. When was the last time we were shot at?"
"Three fifteen pee em on the third of this month," Danny announces instantly. "I know it’s been a couple of weeks, but I can’t believe you’ve forgotten already."
"I can’t believe you remember the exact time."
"Well, if you’d write a report once in a while, maybe you’d- Oh, hey."
Steve turns at the sudden cessation of words and looks up. He can see Danny standing at a desk in the office, papers in his hand, and that’s the face he usually wears when he’s on to something but he’s not sure what. Steve starts towards the stairs to check it out, hears this soft scratch of noise from behind him, the sound of a shoe scuffing on concrete, his only warning. He’s moving before the sound is even really registering in his consciousness, swinging back around, gun raised...
Something solid hits him in the side of the head. The world goes black for a second, lurching on an uncharted axis as sound drops down to a muted buzz in his head and the floor rushes up to meet him. For a second he can’t work out what’s happening but he knows this sensation and he’s got to keep it together, got to get on his feet, soldier, got to get his ass up because there’s danger and his people are in trouble and shit. Shit, shit, shit. Williams. The buzz in his head starts to fade, his body starts reluctantly obeying his commands again, and Danny. Danny is up there, he doesn’t know, he won’t have heard and –
Steve manages to shake off the knock enough to twist and get his hands under him. His gun is gone and he doesn’t have time to check for it because when he turns, there’s the guy who cold cocked him standing out where he has a clear line of sight through the shipping crates to the office window. He’s pointing a gun. At Danny.
It’s all just a little too late; he’s just a little too slow to move, too slow to warn. The crack of the gun report is a chillingly familiar sound. The glass window up in the office shatters spectacularly and he sees Danny go down and fuck. Fuck. He launches himself at the perp, barrelling into him like he’s still doing college football, and they go down in a heap, fighting. But all Steve can think about is that he can’t hear Danny. Danny’s up there, lying on the floor, bleeding out, and this asshole is in Steve’s way, that’s all he can think about.
The guy is bulky, fit, but not as fit as Steve, and definitely not as well trained. Steve throws a punch. It’s off, but the gun in the other guy’s hand careens away, and he makes the mistake of trying to go for it. Steve wrestles him back, gets an arm around his neck, hooks a hand around the other wrist and squeezes until the guy stops struggling. When he finally lets him go, he has no idea if he’s dead. He should know; he’s trained to know how much pressure on the windpipe is just enough but he doesn’t even bother to stop to check if there’s a pulse.
He’s up the stairs three at a time. There’s glass everywhere, crunching under his boots as he bursts through the door to find Danny –
- Sitting on the floor by the desk, looking up at him, wide eyed and completely unscathed.
Steve stares for a full ten seconds.
"Jesus," he finally breathes. "Jesus fucking Christ. I thought you were hit."
Danny just stays where he is, and maybe completely unscathed is being a little generous. There’s a waxy look to his face Steve’s only seen once, when Rachel called and told him she and Grace had been car jacked.
"You know," he says, and his voice is a little shaky. "I thought I was too."
Steve looks at the window the bullet went through and then back at where Danny is sitting – would have been standing - and by all rights, Danny should have been shot. Steve doesn’t actually know how he wasn’t. He takes one involuntary step forward, and then it’s like the momentum just carries him and then he’s crouching in front of Danny, hands on his legs, his arms, his shoulders, his head, patting him down like he’s looking for evidence of the impossible, and actually the really scary thing is, Danny is letting him, Danny is not complaining and pushing him off.
"Are you sure?" Steve presses, because Danny looks like he’s in shock. He might not be feeling it, but there’s no blood, there’s nothing.
"I’m okay," Danny says, a little like he’s trying to convince himself. "I’m okay. I dropped something. I was- I was bending down... Right. Shit." He breathes once, measured and even. "This shit never gets any easier. You’d think it would get easier, but no. Every single time. You know, when I was a cop in Jersey, I never got shot at. And there were plenty of guns. Everybody has to have a gun. The drug dealers and the mafia and the guys that held up convenience stores and gas stations. But you know, in hindsight, I was never actually shot at."
"Okay. Okay." But Steve’s more convincing himself that the evidence isn’t lying, that Danny is one hundred percent alright, uninjured. "Okay," he says again, letting himself turn and slump down on the floor with his back up against the wall next to Danny because now the adrenaline is leaving his system he's not sure he can keep his balance. "You know," he says, and his hands aren't shaking, but only because he's spent most of his adult life training them not to. "I never got shot at that much either."
"Bullshit, Steven. That is complete -"
"No," Steve says. "Seriously. I mean, that’s the point, isn’t it? If they’re shooting at you, then you’re doing it wrong."
Danny stares at him. And then he starts laughing. Steve blinks, staring, while Danny just sits there and laughs, and then Steve starts laughing too.
"Shut up," he says, trying to sober up, but that just sets Danny off harder, until he’s holding his stomach and just about toppling over and Steve can’t even be pissed off about it because he could have lost Danny tonight, and it would have been his fault.
"You," Danny gasps. "You own bumper stickers that say "SEALS do it with precision, too, don’t you."
Steve extends his leg and boots Danny lightly in the shin and his smirk is threatening to break out into an all out grin. "You are hilarious. It’s a printed tee."
"God. Stop it. Just stop. No," Danny gulps in, pulling himself together forcibly and swiping at his eyes and Steve knows what this is, this is the high, the giddy relief of still being alive when things could have so easily been different. This is dodging the bullet literally, and Steve's been there before so he knows what it's like, and there is no way in hell he is going to say that, because Danny still has a big-assed smile on his face and that? That is way better than the pale, shocky look he was wearing before. Something about that smile is making Steve feel like whatever fist was around his heart a few moments ago is finally gone. "No. You are. You just kill me sometimes. Fuck, Steve. Life around you is never dull, that’s for sure."
"You make that sound like it’s a good thing." Steve tries to frown, but he suspects he’s not doing that good a job of it. "You are seriously not blaming this on me. Do I need to quote? Who are we going to meet? I think I remember pretty clearly you saying that."
Danny throws him a look. "Speaking of which, I take it you took our uninvited guest out? How the hell did he get the jump on you down there anyway? Wait a minute. Fuck. Christ, he-" He reaches across and it isn’t until his fingers brush against the decent lump forming on the side of Steve’s head that Steve remembers it’s there. And that it kind of hurts.
"Seriously? Seriously? You come racing up here to see if I’m okay when you’re almost concussed?"
Steve opens his mouth but the look on Danny’s face stalls any words.
"Don’t you. Do not tell me it’s nothing or I will seriously. Oh my God, why do I even bother?"
Steve shuts his mouth opens it again.
"Actually, I was going to say that, yeah, I think he thought I was down for the count, and it kind of hurts, now you mention it, and I think I’m going to go get it checked out, so if you’re done sitting around, maybe we should go downstairs and cuff this guy before he wakes up?" He levers himself up to his feet and extends a hand down to Danny, and Danny takes it without comment.
"Yes," Danny says, looking and sounding a little appeased. "Yes, let’s do that. Because I would like, for once on this case, to get to bed before the sun comes up again. And if we’re going to the hospital after the station then there’s a chance, just a small chance, that might happen."
Steve lets Danny lead the way out of the office.
"You don’t have to come with–"
"Let’s not start that. Have we not been over that? You are not driving yourself to the hospital with a possible concussion or aneurism or whatever. End. Of. Story. Why do we keep having the same conversation over and over again? Why? It’s like being married."
Following Danny down the stairs – and there’s their guy and he hasn’t moved. Steve kind of hopes he’s not dead, because Danny’s going to have something to say about that too if he is – Steve has to smirk.
"I wouldn’t know," he interjects mildly, and Danny throws him a withering look as he reaches the floor level.
"Oh. Oh, you are so, so funny," he says as he walks over to their perp and gives him a nudge with his foot. Steve goes to retrieve the two discarded weapons – his is under a crate next to where he got jumped - and then comes back and pats their guy down for anything else, then cuffs him while Danny stands over him, hands on hips.
"Hey. Hey, wake up..." he takes the wallet Steve finds and passes to him, flips it open to read the driver ID. "...Well, well, well. Akau Uahi, son of George Uahi. Nice to meet you. I want to tell you about how much I do not like to be shot at. Chuckles over here tells me I’m doing it wrong, if you can believe that. What would he know, huh? He thinks this shit is fun. Come on. Rise and shine, bucko. Steve. Steve? Is this guy even still breathing, what did you do? Seriously, should you even be allowed outside? I’m starting to think not."
Steve looks up, but the perp is groaning softly where his face is smushed against the floor so it’s all good.
"You know," he points out, "whatever happened to being the water? I thought that was working. Yeah, that was working for me."
Danny waves dismissively. "The water was not working. There is no water. I am going back to being not water, okay? Can you just get this guy up? I don’t want to have to buy you breakfast three days in a row. I want my bed. I want to be sleeping normal hours like a normal person. Come on, let’s go. I hate this case, you know that? I want it to be over."
Steve hauls their rousing suspect to his feet and gives him a little shake.
"It will be," Steve assures. "Kono and Chin can come back here tomorrow and go through the place with a fine tooth comb. We’ll find something. And we have this guy. He’ll talk. It’s as good as in the bag. You need to learn to chill, Danno."
Danny glares as he opens the door for Steve and lets him pass through with their suspect stumbling in front.
"Okay. See, that? That is precisely why I have no choice but to do the opposite. Next time. Next time we are calling for back up."
"Okay, Danno," Steve agrees amiably, but considering he can still picture Danny’s face, can still feel the cold rush of his blood when he was sure Danny was down, he thinks next time, he probably will.
"And we are not, I repeat not, throwing this guy in a shark cage, or off a roof, or whatever else you mean when you say ‘talk’."
"Oh, stop it," Danny says, rolling his eyes and pulling the back door of the truck open for Steve to push their suspect inside. "Coming from you that’s just wrong."
Steve tries to look innocent as he shuts the door and tosses Danny the keys before opening the passenger side door, but not because he’d been contemplating anything drastic. He’d never tell Danny, not in a million years, but he thinks he’s kind of had enough excitement for one night.