The low rumble of the engine abruptly cut off and Danny peeled one eyelid open, surveying his surroundings. Sighing, he opened the other eye and glanced around. It had been dark for a few hours, but he would know Steve’s driveway anywhere.
“What are we doing here?” Danny asked confused, looking over at his partner, yawning.
“Because the doctor wouldn’t release you unless you had a babysitter,” Steve replied, staring at Danny.
Danny rolled his eyes at the babysitter comment. “What I mean is… Why are we here? At your house. Why didn’t you just take me home?”
“Because the doctor wouldn’t release you unless…” Steve started to repeat.
Danny pinched the bridge of his nose, silently begging for calm but realizing it had abandoned him about the same time he met the asshole next to him.
“What I mean is, why can’t I be released AT HOME? My own home, where my stuff is? Where I’m most comfortable and happy?” Danny sniped, adding, “You contrary bastard,” under his breath.
If Steve heard that last part, he chose to ignore it. “Because I’m not babysitting you in that rat-trap you call an apartment,” Steve sniffed before getting out of the car.
Danny sat in the Camaro and sulked until his door was ripped open and a six-foot Navy SEAL was standing at his side with his arms crossed. “Coming?”
Danny looked up and glared at his friend before slowly folding himself out of the car. “I hate you,” he muttered, falling into step behind his partner.
“I’m sorry, what was that?” Steve asked as he unlocked the door.
Danny brushed up again him as he entered Steve’s house and turned to glare at him. “I said, I. Hate. You.”
Steve’s face broke out into his shit-eating grin. “Nah you don’t.” He patted Danny’s cheek before turning and leaving Danny by the door, his partner glaring daggers into his back.
When Steve was out of ear-shot, Danny muttered resignedly. “No, I don’t.”
Slamming the door shut, Danny made his way to the kitchen, listening to Steve do whatever the hell he was doing in the living room.
“Ya got anything to eat in this house?” Danny yelled as he rooted around in the refrigerator, finding nothing appealing.
Truth was, he really wasn’t all that hungry. His head still hurt like a son of a bitch from the crack he got when he was pistol-whipped earlier that day.
As par for the course, he was Steve’s back up as they entered into the back of the restaurant where, supposedly, Ling Huynh was hiding out. Of course, Ling was nowhere to be found, but his men where there, kicking back, playing a little poker, minding their own business until Steve Fucking McGarrett and his merry band of one (that would be Danny) busted in and broke everything up. Sure, Chin and Kono come in from the front, but by the time they made it to the back room, most of Huynh’s men had scattered, but not before one of them had smacked Danny upside the head.
Danny staggered around for a second before falling on his ass, trying to blink the spots from his eyes and attempted to swallow the nausea that rolled around his stomach.
Thankfully Chin was there or else a concussion would have been the least of Danny’s worries. While Danny was flat on his ass, Chin shot the guy before he had a chance to shoot Danny.
He’d have to remember to send Chin a fruit basket or something. Really? What do you get a guy who saved your life? He was sure Chin would appreciate a pineapple or a coconut or even a sugar cane or something.
Danny snickered at the image of what the basket might look like and shook his head, which probably wasn’t that great an idea as his head began to throb again.
Suddenly, Danny was yanked back by his belt loop on his slacks and he turned to find a scowling Steve glaring at him.
“What the fuck are you trying to do?” Steve snipped. “Cool the house or warm the inside of my refrigerator?
“What are you talking about?” Danny snipped back. “I’m trying to find some decent food around here?”
“Holding the fridge door open for ten minutes isn’t going to make food magically appear. It’s either there or it isn’t.”
“Ten minutes?” Danny shot back. “Please! It’s barely been ten seconds. Not near enough time to find NOTHING in your fridge.”
“Ten minutes, Danny,” Steve replied, holding out his wrist and showing Danny his watch.
“Exaggerate mu…” Danny glanced at Steve’s watch and snapped his mouth shut. “Oh.” He looked sheepishly at his partner. “Sorry.”
Steve’s face softened and he gently took Danny’s elbow and led him out of the kitchen and towards the living room.
Danny was pushed in the general direction of the couch and he sat down hard at one end. “Wasn’t that hungry anyway,” Danny muttered under his breath.
“I know,” Steve answered softly as he sat down beside Danny. Like right next to him.
Danny slowly turned his head at Steve’s proximity; and when he was almost completely facing his partner, his chin was suddenly taken in a light grip and a pen light was flashed into his left eye.
“SON OF A FUCKING BITCH?!” Danny roared, jerking back and squeezing his eyes shut tight, rubbing the palm of one hand over the throbbing orb. Slowly blinking his eyes open and still feeling the lance of pain behind the left side of his skull, he continued. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing, you asshole?! That fucking hurt!”
Steve sat patiently next to him, the pen light in his right hand, posed to strike again. “Sorry, Danno, but the doctor released you under the condition that you were to be checked every hour to make sure that your concussion wasn’t getting any worse. And the best way to confirm that everything is okay is to check the reactions of your pupils.”
“By shining the sun in my eye?!”
“I need to make sure your pupils react to the light and are not fixed or unresponsive,” Steve explained patiently, or as patiently as he could with his aneurysm face plastered on his features.
“Why don’t you just go into the kitchen, grab a steak knife and shove it in my eye. I’m sure it would feel a whole lot nicer.”
Danny sighed and closed his eyes, rubbing his left temple, willing the throbbing to just go the fuck away. Of course it didn’t and of course he was going to have to let Steve do this thing or he might find himself hogged-tied to a chair, his eyelids forcibly held open Clockwork Orange style.
He chuckled at the image.
Steve’s concerned voice brought him back to the present and he sighed again, seeing the worry behind the aggravation in Steve’s own eyes.
“Fine,” Danny replied. “Just… take it easy, huh? My head feels like it’s gonna fall off.”
Steve started to lean forward, but at Danny’s confession, he leaned back again. “They didn’t give you anything for the pain?”
Danny shook his head slightly. “Concussion, remember?”
“Not even Tylenol?” Steve asked, perplexed.
Danny grinned painfully. “That wore off hours ago.”
Steve jumped up and started out of the room. “Why the hell didn’t you say anything? Just a minute.” Steve came back in a few moments later holding a glass of water in one hand and three pills in his other."
“Here.” The glass was thrust at Danny and the pills were dropped in his palm.
Danny popped the pills in his mouth, not even asking what they were. If he knew Steve at all, and he did, it was probably some organic pain relief crap that Steve would swear by. But at the moment, Danny couldn’t care less. He was hurting and anything, including a bullet to his head, sounded like a good idea.
“Thanks,” Danny said as his finished off the water and placed the glass on the coffee table.
“Now…” Steve began as he took his seat next to Danny again.
“Steeeeeevvve, no,” Danny whined, knowing full well he was sounding worse than Grace, but not caring at the moment. He did NOT want to repeat the light-in-the-eye thing.
Steve took an impatient breath and glared at his partner. “Dannnnnnnno, yes.”
“Fuck you,” Danny mumbled, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Later,” Steve replied and started to lean in, pen light at the ready.
Danny’s eyes widened at the retort and he stared at Steve unsure he heard what he did.
Steve, being the opportunist that he was, took this as his chance to check Danny’s eyes and flashed the pen light into Danny’s right eye.
“Ow! Fuck me!” Danny bellowed, squeezing his eyes shut again, digging the palms of both hands into his eyes.
“Later,” Steve replied, patting Danny on his knee before getting up and moving away.
Danny dropped his hands from his face and stared up at his partner. “What?”
“Nothing,” Steve responded, moving over to flick on the television before plopping down in the chair next to the couch.
After a few moments of silence, Danny looked over to Steve. “Well, what’s the verdict, doc?”
Steve frowned over at Danny. “You’re left pupil seems okay, but your right pupil is still a little slow to respond. It’s still a bit blown.”
Danny snickered at the comment and Steve rolled his eyes. “What are you, twelve?”
Danny leaned back into the couch cushions still smiling. “Yes, Mr. Shoot ‘Em Up. I am twelve and so are you.”
Steve opened his mouth to deny but thought better of it and grinned. “Point.”
They sat in companionable silence, not really watching what was on television, but staring at the screen nonetheless. Sometime during the first thirty minutes, when the pain medication had finally started kicking in, Danny decided to lie down on the couch, feet tucked up against the arm and head a few feet from the other end, curled in a fetal position. Soon, he felt the cushions depress next to his head and felt what was probably Steve’s thigh press against the top of his head, but he was too comfortable to move, let alone question why Steve has decided to move to the couch. And when a hand came down on his head and fingers lightly brushed behind his ear, all thought or concern went right out the window as he allowed his body to be consumed by sleep.
All too soon, unfortunately, Danny was roused from sleep by a hand shaking his shoulder.
“Come on, Sleeping Beauty, time to move this someplace more comfortable.”
Steve’s voice floated into his consciousness and he slowly peeled back his eyelids, really not wanting to wake up at all. His head was on a really soft pillow, Steve’s thigh – but he didn’t know it at the time, and there were gentle fingers running through his hair. He was way too comfortable to wake up, but the insistent shaking of his shoulder made it impossible to slip back to sleep.
When he finally focused, he saw Steve’s grinning face peering down at him and he was momentarily confused as to where he was. “Where…?”
Steve slowly helped him sit up and immediately got right back into his personal space, sitting down next to him. Danny felt his chin being clasped in strong but tender fingers and his face brought around to look at Steve.
Steve stared at him with piercing eyes. “You’re at my house, remember?”
Danny frowned for a minute, trying to gain his bearings. Finally… ah, yes, the concussion. That explains the confusion.
Danny saw movement out of the corner of his eye and grimaced as Steve brought up the pen light. “Ah, man, not again.” Danny squeezed his eyes shut tight. “Can’t you just quiz me or something?”
Danny could hear the smile in Steve’s voice as he answered, “I could and I will, but I still have to do this.” Had it not been for the worry Danny heard in Steve’s tone, he probably would have refused to open his eyes. As it was, Danny resigned himself to his fate and opened his eyes.
“Fine, just… be nice.”
Steve smiled and nodded. “The left one first.” At least he warned me this time, Danny thought to himself as the light blazed his left pupil. “Shit!” Danny cursed as he clamped down his eyelids. It didn’t hurt as bad as the first time around, but it still stung.
Steeling himself for the other one, Danny took two deep breaths and opened his eyes just in time to see a look in Steve’s eyes that he’d only ever seen a few times before. Unfortunately, with his concussion, he was unable to identify what it could mean before it vanished, leaving Concerned Team Leader in its place.
“Ready?” Steve asked.
Danny nodded as he watched the pen light come up. He started squinting and blinking rapidly, knowing full well the pain that was to come and trying to prepare for it.
Steve stopped and backed up a bit. “I can’t check if you keep doing that,” he admonished.
“I know,” Danny answered quietly. “But it’s going to hurt,” he whined. Heh, Gracie had nothing on him. He reverted from twelve to six in one second flat.
With the patience that Danny had rarely seen from his partner, Steve nodded thoughtfully. “I know, but only for a second.”
His scrambled brain not able to process this softer side of tough-ass Steve McGarrett, Danny gave in, deciding to worry about it at a later time. In the meantime, he leaned forward and presented his opened eyes for Steve’s inspection.
The pen light came and went quickly, but not before piercing his skull with fresh pain. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!” Danny’s eyes squeezed shut again and he groaned. “Hate you.”
He felt tender fingers massage his temple and, instead of snarking as he normally would, found himself, instead leaning in to the touch.
Danny had no clue how long he sat there allowing Steve to rub away the pain in his head, but it felt too good for him to really care. Several minutes later, when Danny felt relaxed enough to drift off a bit, he suddenly felt himself guided off the couch. He grumbled a bit before he opened his eyes to see where they were going.
“Come on,” Steve said. “Time for bed."
“Does this mean I get to sleep?” Danny asked as he followed Steve up the stairs.
Steve nodded his head. “If you don’t mind waking up every hour.”
He walked in a kind of sleepy-haze as he was led to Steve’s bedroom. Suddenly wide awake, Danny stopped short at the door. “What am I doing here?”
Steve looked at him like a slow child. “To sleep.”
“And where are you going to sleep?” He asked.
“Here, you idiot.”
Danny had no reply to that other than to refuse to enter the room.
Steve removed his shirt and turned around to find Danny glued to the door jamb. “What?”
Danny didn’t move and continued to stare at his partner.
Rolling his eyes and shaking his head, Steve reached out for Danny and pulled him into the room. “For god’s sake, stop being a baby and get in here.”
Danny stumbled into the room and was physically sat on the edge of the bed. He watched as Steve removed his cargos and walked to the dresser, pulling out two pairs of sweatpants. Yanking one on and throwing the other in Danny’s direction, he continued, “I am not getting up every hour to check on you from the other room. It’s easier to just stay here. That way, if anything goes wrong, WHICH IT WON’T,” Steve stressed, “I will be here.”
Danny continued to look at Steve like he’d lost his mind. Even though everything Steve had just said made perfect sense, he could not get over the fact he was about to sleep with Steve. Well, get into a bed and sleep on the same mattress as Steve. Same damned difference.
It certainly wasn’t an unpleasant thought and it definitely wasn’t something he hadn’t thought about before, but… reality was a bitch and his head was hurting and he just wished he could have one clear thought right now, just one. Was that too much to ask?
Apparently it was because the next thing he knew, he felt fingers at his shirt unbuttoning the buttons. Coming back to himself, he slapped away the hands at his chest. “I can do it!” Danny snapped petulantly.
Steve’s eyebrows rose to new heights and he stepped back and crossed his arms over his chest.
They stared at one other for a few moments before Danny got up, snatching the discarded sweats that had landed on the bed beside him. “Bathroom?”
Steve pointed in the direction next to the dresser and Danny made his way inside. Once there, he gulped in a few deep breaths, clearly not understand what was going on or what he was feeling. If he wasn’t so god damned tired and if his fucking head didn’t hurt so fucking much, he’d be able to figure out what the hell was going on.
Instead, he was jerked out of his thoughts by a pounding on the door. “Danny? You okay in there?”
Danny wanted so bad to snipe at Steve to just go away and let him think, but the slight anxious waver in Steve’s tone made him swallow his retort and answer, “Yeah, be right out.”
After using the john, he quickly removed his ever-present tie, his shirt that was clearly ruined with blood stained all over the right shoulder, and his slacks, slipping on the over-long sweats. Splashing some cold water on his face, he looked at himself in the mirror and sighed.
Resigning himself to worry about everything in the morning, Danny left the confines of the bathroom to find Steve sitting on the edge of the bed setting his watch. Steve looked up with apprehension. “You okay?”
Knowing he’d just been a dick, but not really comprehending how or why, Danny walked around to the other side of the bed and slid under the covers. “Yeah.” After another moment of silence, as Steve reached over and flicked off the lights, Danny continued, “Thanks, man, for everything.”
Steve settled in bed and turned his head towards Danny. “Of course, Danno. Now try to get some sleep.”
Danny thought it would be hard to sleep considering all the jumbled thoughts in his head, but sleep came fast and easy, and he let the pain pull him under.
* * *
Danny would have sworn in a court of law that it couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes after he had closed his eyes when a faint beeping sound dragged him from a very comfortable place. Snuggling deeper against the warmth against his chest, Danny rubbed his cheek on Steve’s shoulder, though having no clue he was pressed up against his partner’s side.
“Wake up, Danno.”
“Mmm, don’ wanna,” Danny replied sullenly.
“Sorry, buddy,” Steve answered. “Gotta.”
Steve shifted to his side so that Danny was now pressed against his chest, one hand pressed between their bodies and the other resting over Steve’s stomach. Steve shook him a bit harder. “Come on, Danno, you know the drill. Name?”
Danny opened a baleful eye and glared at his partner, not moving any other body part away from the comfort. And, truthfully, too out of it to really care.
Softer, Steve asked, “Name?”
Sighing when he realized he’d have to answer, he muttered, “Danny Williams.”
There was a slight hesitation before Danny answered, “Uh, 2010.”
Danny didn’t see Steve’s slight frown as he continued. “President?”
Danny smiled against Steve’s chest and replied, “Detective with HPD before being hijacked to work for a psychopathic tyrannical dictator who covertly goes by the name of a GI Joe Army guy, Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett. Who spends his days thinking of new and inventive ways to kill me and who…”
Sighing heavily, Steve flopped down on his back and rolled his eyes. “Okay, okay, you’re fine. Go back to sleep. Please! Dear god, please just go back to sleep.”
Danny smirked and did was he was told, which is what he’d been after all along.
* * *
The next hour came faster than the last and it was beginning to piss Danny off. His head would never stop throbbing at this rate. In fact, if anything, it felt worse. Much worse. Stupid concussion.
This time, however, the beeping was coming from his waist area. Danny opened an eye to find an arm flung over his stomach, heat radiating over his back, and long legs tangled with his own.
Again, he really couldn’t find it within himself to care and pushed back into the body behind him, drifting back to sleep.
Unfortunately, his eyes barely shut when he felt a hand pull him around so he was lying on his back. He turned to face Steve.
“Name, rank and serial number, soldier!” Steve barked jovially, albeit softly.
Danny rolled his eyes, but found the action painful and stopped. “Detective Danny Williams. No serial number and not a fucking soldier, damn it!”
Steve grinned. “Year?”
Again, another hesitation like last time. “Um, 2012.”
Steve’s eyes widened and he kept his eyes on Danny’s face as he blindly reached behind him to turn on the bedside light. When the light flicked on, Danny squinted his eyes to mere slits, groaning at the brightness, and trying to bury his face in the pillows beneath his head. Steve wouldn’t let him and gently tilted Danny’s head up to look him in the eyes. “Danno? Year?”
Danny still blinking the stinging from the light, answered, “2010,” as if it were obvious and as if he had not just answered incorrectly a second before.
Danny’s eyebrows furrowed. “Huh?”
“State, Danny. What state are you in?”
Danny sighed and scrunched his nose with distaste. “Pineapple infested hell-hole. Or, as you lovely island people call it, Hawai’i.”
Steve smirked. “You love it here and you know it.” He turned around to shut off the light, causing Danny to sigh in pleasure.
Danny snuggled against Steve and closed his eyes, more than ready to fall back to sleep. “Yeah,” Danny murmured, “Kinda do.”
Steve shifted so that his arm was around Danny’s shoulder, cradling the other man against his side. “Told you,” Steve whispered, getting comfortable.
“Love you more,” Danny mumbled, slipping into sleep himself.
Steve’s eyes snapped open at Danny’s words and he blinked several times, unsure he heard what he just heard. Danny’s confession kept him awake for the next hour.
When Steve’s watch beeped for the third time, Danny didn’t even flinch. He was half on his stomach and half on Steve, one leg pinning both of Steve’s and one arm curved over Steve’s chest, hand resting over Steve’s heart. He awoke with fingers gently carding through his hair at the back of his skull.
It felt way too good to move.
Steve was rewarded with a grunt and his partner nuzzling closer. Steve pulled him nearer with one arm while using the other to shake Danny’s shoulder. “C’mon, Danny. Wake up.”
Unexpectedly, as though Danny hadn’t been all sleep-warm and cuddly a second before, Danny quickly raised up on his elbows, digging them into Steve’s chest, glaring down at his partner. “God damn it, Steve, enough! I want to fucking sleep! My name is Detective Danny Williams. It’s the year 20 fucking 10. The president is Barack fucking Obama. The state is fucking Hawai’i. I work with the Governor’s fucking Task Force for a fucking man who will be dead in less than a fucking minute if he doesn’t let me FUCKING SLEEP!”
Steve’s eyes went wide at the start of Danny’s outburst, but his face soon turned to fond amusement the longer Danny ranted.
“You could have just said so,” Steve said.
“GAH!” Danny groaned, dropping down on Steve’s chest, causing an ‘oof’ from the man below him.
Suddenly, Steve’s wrist was gripped in strong fingers and before he knew what was happening, his watch was flung half way across the room.
Steve made to get up but was quickly subdued by Danny’s narrow glare. “I swear to god, Steve, if you get up, I will murder you."
“No, ‘buts’. I am fine.” At Steve’s incredulous look, Danny continued, “I am feeling much better. Grab your little army light if you want to be sure.”
“Navy, Danny,” Steve corrected half-heartedly, but stretched over to the bedside table to turn on the lamp and to find the pen light. Once the lamp was glowing and the pen light turned on, Steve turned to face Danny, who was staring up at him, chin in his palms, elbows resting on Steve’s chest.
“Okay,” Steve started. “Left one first.” He was rewarded with normal pupil dilation and not a flinch out of Danny. He smiled and said, “Okay, now the right.” The right was much better, but still a little slow to react; and this time, Danny merely winced, no curse words in sight (though Steve figured he ran out of curse words in his latest rant). “How do you feel, really?”
“Really?” Danny asked. At Steve’s nod, Danny confessed. “Much better. Still headachy on the right side, but nothing like before.”
“You want some more pain medication?”
“Nah,” Danny answered. “I do want some more sleep, though. So shut the fuck up and let me sleep.”
“Yes dear,” Steve replied as Danny lay his head back down and got comfortable on his new Steve-mattress.
Once things had settled down and quiet permeated the room, tension soon followed as both men ignored the eight hundred pound gorilla, the elephant, or, in their case, the multi-ton battleship in the room.
Steve knew that Danny had not gone back to sleep as much as he was trying to pretend that he had. Fingers unconsciously continued to slide through blond hair as Steve contemplated the ceiling. He was jerked out of his thought when he heard, “Steve,” come from the vicinity of his chest.
“Can we please worry about this tomorrow?”
And it was like a heavy weight lifted not only from his shoulders, but from the room as well.
This was inevitable. This had been coming for a very long time since they both pulled their guns on each other in this very house all those months ago. Steve pulled Danny closer and nodded his head. “Yeah. Okay. Go to sleep.”
If it waited this long, it could wait one more day.
December 11, 2010